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.
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…
“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…
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…
"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…
«Sure is a hard town to play a quiet game o' poker in.»
The opening scene is perfect. Ford was back at Monument Valley for the first time since Stagecoach (1939), and makes proper use of the landscape. We can see the mountains almost in every outdoor shot also when within the city limits. I believe it was director Lindsay Anderson (This Sporting Life, If....) who said that this single scene made Ford's films turn from prose into poetry...
The DVD cover boldly states «John Ford's greatest western» without any further ado. This might be a long stretch, it having to compete with The Searchers among several others. Anyway, it's one of my personal favorites of his.
Ford didn't care…
What makes John Ford’s dramatization of the story of the gunfight at O.K Corral so special and exhilarating is its astonishing visualization of the mythical Monument Valley coupled with the old bitter story of love and revenge. My Darling Clementine is like a sad poem, story of men and women who can’t escape their destinies. They have to accept what fate awaits them, and their gloomy lives brings no happiness, peace or love to them. In such a world it’s no surprise that when Wyat Earp (Henry Fonda) asks Mac the Bartender (J. Farrel MacDonald) that if he has ever been in love his only answer is an icy “I have been a bartender whole my life”, life can’t get…
My Darling Clementine is a beautifully shot film by Joe MacDonald under the masterful direction of John Ford. The lighting, sound design and careful detail of the reconstruction of the wild west is a sight to be hold. I love the blackness in the film. The film is a loose framework of Wyatt Earp's days in Tombstone and his legendary confrontation with the Clanton gang. Henry Fonda is superb as Wyatt Earp.
Criterion has done another masterful job in the transfer and presentation of this film on Blu-ray. Highly recommended.
Definitely an illegitimate viewing, as the projector at the college is a POS. That said, I did notice details of interest, and I hope to return to it sometime.
Firstly, that Ford's direction here is wonderful. He gives a detailed depiction of Tombstone (aesthetically, not historically). The B&W cinematography and production design are some of the best I've seen from this era. Each shadow, the dust in the desert air, the taverns and inns, are so perfectly rendered.
That said, I was mostly unimpressed by the story, and, most of all, the portrayal of Wyatt Earp. In a film filled with complex characters and dual motives, Fonda's Earp comes off a little too clean cut and respectable. It's simply the…
To get this out of the way, this is grossly inaccurate historically. First of all, the fight didn't even occur at the OK Corral; it happened in a vacant lot. It took place near Fly's Photographic Studio a short distance away from the corral. Doc was never mortally wounded. Actually, he carried a shotgun into the fight, and dropped it after shooting Tom McLaury in the chest at close-range. Then he grabbed his pistol and targeted Frank McLaury. After getting grazed with a bullet, Doc exclaimed he was going to kill Frank and followed him down the street. Either him or Morgan Earp killed Frank.
Virgil Earp, not Wyatt, by the way, was acting as a town marshal and was…
One of the best films I've ever seen. A perfect western. Can't believe I hadn't gotten to it before, but then at least when I finally did it was on the big screen and after a great restoration.
I dunno... Some great moments and great scenes, but it seems kind of slight to be one of the greatest films ever.
Victor Mature is kind of great as Doc Holliday.
This is going to require immediate revisiting later in the week. Wow!
They Died With Their Boots Off
"Ma'am, I sure like that name... Clementine."- Wyatt Earp
My Darling Clementine is a very good Western. The always dependable Henry Fonda gives a brilliant performance as famed Westerner Wyatt Earp. Victor Mature is also fantastic as Doc Holiday. The two of them worked great together and its their performances that really sell the movie. This film was my introduction to the story of Earp and Holiday and he shootout at the OK Corral, which has had many film adaptions. It was a solid intro to this particular story. I have seen watched Tombstone, which is another telling of the story and liked it a but more than this one. That being said, My Darling Clementine is still one of the better Pre-1960's Westerns. 8/10
The new blu-ray is a thing of real beauty.
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