This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
My Darling Clementine
She was everything the West was - young, fiery, exciting!
Wyatt Earp and his brothers Morgan and Virgil ride into Tombstone and leave brother James in charge of their cattle herd. On their return they find their cattle stolen and James dead. Wyatt takes on the job of town marshal, making his brothers deputies, and vows to stay in Tombstone until James' killers are found. He soon runs into the brooding, coughing, hard-drinking Doc Holliday as well as the sullen and vicious Clanton clan. Wyatt discovers the owner of a trinket stolen from James' dead body and the stage is set for the Earps' long-awaited revenge.
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…
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…
"You hadn't taken it into your head to deliver us from all evil?"
My Darling Clementine certainly fits into the western genre, but from the visuals alone you wouldn't be remiss to assume that it had more in common with film noir. The term wouldn't be created to retroactively describe a trend in American cinema for another two years, but the social and cultural anxieties that the new subgenre was rooted in were very much alive. The low-key lighting casts shadows that are deep and dark, and they pervade the frame and reflect the social angst of the time and the existentialism that resulted from World War II.
But the similarities go beyond simple imagery: the little town of Tombstone…
"To be, or not to be"
"You have no right to destroy yourself."
A perfect moment in art, Ford in high poetry; a pinnacle of the medium. Civilization at the gravest cost, melancholy that cannot be subdued, friendships of preciously short duration and profoundly real emotion.
More or less the fundamental Ford text, and as I argue here (as part of its Criterion debut), a cinematic representation containing the ethos of American poetry.
"Mac, you ever been in love?"
"Nope, I've been a bartender all my life."
“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…
quaint and sweet, slickly done, nice old-timey stuff. i can't believe victor mature wasn't cast as count olaf in neflix's series of unfortunate events. #snubbed
Lot of magic happening, but what I fixated on was the minimalism: barely-there narrative threads of love and vengeance that feel more full-bodied for all they omit. Also, the propulsion, the concision, damn. Supremely tight genre storytelling that has little concern with moving from one plot point to the next; instead, I'm transfixed by the way parallel meditations mesh, and the way they shatter when someone shoots a hole through the window.
Another solid western told in John Ford's signature economical style, devoid of frills, yet somehow inexplicably full of detail.
However, it's not my favorite depiction of Wyatt Earp and co. and the legendary battle at the O.K. Corral, but certainly a worthy entry and one that could well enough alone, stand on its own legs.
Henry Fonda shines in this classic western that entertainingly retells the story of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Indisputably one of the greatest westerns of all time, maybe even Ford's best.
Glorious. Ford never made a noir, but he did here. A noir hangout western. That combination doesn't even make sense but he did it somehow. Fonda is amazing in this, and his moment when he's about to ask Cathy Downs to dance, not even saying a word but with every amount of love and agony and fear and joy present as he looks at her, might be the greatest bit of screen acting I've ever seen. It's not even a scene, just a moment, but it's an unforgettable moment. I can't recommend this movie enough.
The gorgeous black and white photography renders the vast American landscape as bleak as it's ever been, and the archetypical character's John Ford does so well populate the world perfectly. It's a folksong about love lost, friendship and so much more, and by far the best I've seen from John Ford so far.
First and foremost, as a Western this film feels too anticlimactic; the violence doesn't go beyond a simmer and the final showdown feels less grand than it would have been in other westerns. But this film never truly was supposed to be about the showdown, at it's heart it feels like a romantic drama (and not the kind where you have a main couple, though there is some of that). It's more about relationships, between friends, between townspeople, between strangers, etc. It's also about transition and the passing of the Old West, which Ford feels more okay with here than in his other movies. In that regard, it's his most melancholic but hopeful. I love Ford's compositions, particularly shots in the saloon and his lighting. Probably my vote for the best Ford yet (Grapes of Wrath and Green Valley forthcoming this year). A+
Clementine doesn't even make it onto the poster! I guess My Darling Chihuahua would suggest a different film, possibly an old West prequel to Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but that's not important right now.
This is a lovely, low-key Western. My second John Ford film of an extended weekend has some of the same sentimentality and similarly fantastic black-and-white photography, but while Liberty Valance was anchored by a strong, compelling plot and some entertaining overacting, Clementine has a meandering, episodic story and some more realistic, down-to-Earth performances from lovely, gangly Henry Fonda, the disarmingly handsome Victor Mature and a villainous Walter Brennan. I was mainly familiar with Brennan due to his broader turns in Rio Bravo and To Have and Have…
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…