54. My Darling Clementine (C+)
My Darling Clementine
: Henry Fonda is an unusual choice for the role of Wyatt Earp, but he ends up being one of the best actors in the film (Walter Brennan and Ward Bond are also good in minor roles). Unfortunately, Victor Mature fails to leave much of an impression in the role of Doc Holliday. With his big build, he has a hard time expressing the characters physical weakness, besides constantly coughing into his handkerchief.
With the exception of some obvious re-shoots done against director John Ford's wishes, the film looks
fantastic, with beautiful black and white photography that's almost expressionistic in places. Of course, the proceedings bear little resemblance to history. The portrayals of the Earps and the Clantons are way off, as is the famous gunfight (as in most movie versions, it takes place at the OK Corral here, too).
Where the movie runs into problems is the structure; highly episodic, it never can figure out what it wants to be about. If, as the title implies, Clementine is an important figure, the fact that she doesn't appear until about 40 minutes in and is locked in her room (off screen) for the last 30 minutes don't do her character any favors. If, as the set up sequence implies, the movie is about the Earps getting revenge for the death of their youngest brother, they seem to forget the murder for an awfully long time. Other versions have stressed the friendship between Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, but here their relationship is almost antagonistic, and Holliday remains an enigmatic figure whose ultimate death doesn't carry much weight.
Actually, the whole gunfight at the end is a bit of an anticlimax, lacking the sudden burst of violence that it was in history, or the smartly plotted gunplay in, say, The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Theatres: 21 +1
Home Video: 30