Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
My Darling Clementine
"My Darling Clementine" is John Ford's retelling of the famous shoot out at the OK Corral that arose from the the Earp Clanton feud.
I've heard a lot about you, too, Doc. You left your mark around in Deadwood, Denver and places. In fact, a man could almost follow your trail goin' from graveyard to graveyard.
- Wyatt Earp
I remember a long time ago when pretty much the only way I'd be able to watch older films would be to hope that they'd show on TV. I'd check the listings in the TV guide a week in advance and then flick through the planner setting everything to record, I probably found at least two things a day that the internet deemed 'good'. The reason I mention this is because a lot of John Ford's classics would play during the weekdays alongside the other…
Why I watched this movie? The 145th Danny Peary Cult Movie that I have watched of the 200 listed in his 3 Volume book series. This one is listed in Volume 2.
What is this one about? Another version of the famous Gunfight at the OK Coral.
My thoughts on this one? A quick look at my movie book that I used before Letterboxd was created....shows that I had seen this movie before.....but I had almost no memory of watching this one. Back then I rated this movie 2 out of 4 stars. That is a pretty low rating for what many people consider one of the best westerns ever made.
So....now that I am older and wiser......have I seen…
One day, there will be a depiction of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the stories of the Earps, the Clantons, and Doc Holliday that accurately captures not just the spirit of their now legendary lives but also the facts. This is not that film. Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance could be the thesis statement of his work here in My Darling Clementine, in which he depicts the legend that Hollywood birthed regarding Wyatt Earp. I am no expert--I have read a sparse few essays, stories, and critiques about Tombstone and other depictions, but never the direct sources--but I know that this seemingly pivotal moment in American history was nothing of the sort until it hit the big…
A Western. That's enough to get me all giddy. A Western from John Ford. Hold me, I'm fainting!
After his young brother James was killed and his cattle herd stolen near Tombstone, Wyatt Earp and his brothers decide to stay in the town until they can bring the bandits to justice. Henry Fonda plays the town's new sheriff Wyatt Earp and he's awesome. Victor Mature as Doc Holliday is equally as great. Tombstone is the worst town imaginable, the perfect representation of the savage old west. Gun shots are as commonplace as whiskey. Violence is rampant. The town is called Tombstone after all and if that's not enough, one of the biggest graveyards can be found here. John Ford makes…
“They're dead. I ain't gonna kill you. I hope you live a hundred years... so you'll feel just a little what my pa's gonna feel. Now get out of town - start wandering!”
-Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda)
In this retelling of the infamous tale of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, titled My Darling Clementine and helmed by legendary Western director John Ford, Henry Fonda takes up the mantle of the infamous Wyatt Earp.
First things first, it pays to remember that this ‘retelling’ is very loose on genuine historical accuracy of the events depicted, instead opting for a dramatized account of the much versed tale. Whilst details could be seen as scarce anyway, regarding the truth of the fight…
"Ma'am, I sure like that name: Clementine."
It's not easy to watch this one with pure eyes. I saw Tombstone at least twice in the theater back in the 90's (at a time when I, as a college student, almost never went to the movies at all). I have seen it probably a dozen times since, so that version of the Wyatt Earp legend has been burned on my brain - especially Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday.
Ford's version is a lot more compact; as best I can tell, it only covers a few days' time. The Earp brothers come into town, tangle with the Clantons, befriend Doc, encounter Clementine, and shoot it out at the OK Corral. Then Wyatt rides…
"The air is so clean and clear ... the scent of the desert flower."
Ford's phantasmagorical retelling of Western mythology has an unmatched rhythmic & hypnotic quality - it's an ethereal masterpiece of smoke and shadows, a moody and beautiful film punctuated by odd moments of levity.
As haunting and melancholy a work as Ford ever delivered, My Darling Clementine is a film luxuriating in seemingly every moments that comes to pass in the town of Tombstone, from the haunting (Shakespeare), to the relatively mundane. But here, through Ford's nostalgic gaze, even the banal takes on a universal mythos. This is the western iconography distilled into scene after gorgeous scene, utterly timeless while appropriately yearning for the time gone by.
About as close to perfection as a Western comes. Reviewed on flickersintime.com
John Ford's the man.
Here's the dirty secret of John Ford films that Cahiers du Cinema doesn't tell you: THEY'RE BORING. I've learned that if you accept that basic fact - that John Ford did not make compelling, dramatic, moment-to-moment engrossing films for a 2015 audience (even a patient one!) - you're way more likely to enjoy his work as a youngish person in the 2010s.
I'm specific there at the end because my experience in two different (expensive!) institutions of higher learning was that young people don't like John Ford. I am one of those people: I (by no means enlightened!) have always enjoyed his movies, but never felt the slavish devotion those teaching me his films imparted. There's such dissonance, especially with…
What can I say? This was purty darn near to being the perfect Western. I know it's not historically accurate, and frankly I don't care. 'Cause it lives & breathes & feels like Truth. As director John Ford would express years later (in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE): "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is legend-making of the highest order. The acting and rapport between Henry Fonda and Victor Mature, as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, could not be bettered. Ford's direction is (yet again) a model of both efficiency and artistry. And the B&W cinematography of Joseph MacDonald is as powerful and expressive as anything this side of film noir.
A perfectly good bromance that nearly got ruined by some chick called Clementine. Then they go name the movie after her! Would you Adam and Eve it?!
I liked it. I'm not sure that I liked it more than something like Tombstone, but it does understand that the most interesting character in the story is not Wyatt; it's Doc.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game