Newest Review: ... to lodge up in town, take on the vacant and unwanted post of sheriff in an attempt to expose the killer and restore law and order to the t... more
Gunfight at the OK Corrall, Fonda-style
My Darling Clementine (DVD)
Member Name: pmcds
My Darling Clementine (DVD)
Advantages: Entertaining after a while, good use of light and cameras
Disadvantages: Not the best Earp and Holliday film
As far as black and white Westerns go, I must confess to not really being a very big fan. In fact, it took me two or three attempts at watching this before finally settling in to watch it in its entirety. There's nothing visually stimulating during the opening credits, and despite the acting prowess of one of the Fonda clan being promised, along with the charismatic Victor Mature, I still wasn't convinced.
The first 15 minutes or so is pure scene setting. Fonda plays Wyatt Earp who, along with his three brothers, comes across the town of Deadwood, initially intent on passing through. However, when his youngest brother is murdered while the other three were in town, he decides to lodge up in town, take on the vacant and unwanted post of sheriff in an attempt to expose the killer and restore law and order to the town. What he hasn't realised is the apparent lawlessness of the town is in fact down to the aggressive and controlling nature of the rapidly speeding train wreck that is Doc Holliday, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase: 'This town aint big enough for the both of us.'
Fonda as Earp and Mature as Holliday bounce off each other excellently, the clean cut law abiding strengthof the former contrasting nicely against the dark, aggressive and gruff charisma of the latter. The black and white film is actually used to good effect here, with Holliday permanently in black and looking morose, the occasional white handkerchief and ominous hacking cough the only signal of something bright (yet not!) around him. Earp though is much more of an open character, and the shadows are used well, with his face generally always visible even if Doc's is hidden by the brow of his hat.
The action is quite impressive I suppose. It's not a patch on today's action films of course, but the director uses different camera angles quite well and ensures that the accompanying music creates an atmosphere and almost made me want to edge forward on my seat. I certainly sat up and paid more attention after the first half an hour, and despite what I thought was an unnecessary side plot involving some romance, the film was miles better than I had initially thought. The tale of Wyatt Earp has been told multiple times, and this is as much of an entertaining tale as the others. I suppose like most plots that have been done to death, it was kind of hard to go along with an open mind knowing what the general outcome is likely to be for the main characters, but I can imagine that at the time this film was made it would have been more of a revelation.
Overall then, a decent film, one certainly worth a watch, with the pace and timing from those behind and in front of the camera certainly making sure that proceedings are entertaining. I can't quiet agree with Empire placing this in the top 500 films of all time, but the long expansive wild west was certainly used well, the actors did a good job and there was just enough mystery to keep this as a good film. Not the best, but certainly worth a watch.
Summary: Decent Western based on the tale of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the gunfight at the OK Corrall