After their cattle are stolen and their brother murdered, the Earp brothers have a score to settle with the Clanton family.After their cattle are stolen and their brother murdered, the Earp brothers have a score to settle with the Clanton family.After their cattle are stolen and their brother murdered, the Earp brothers have a score to settle with the Clanton family.
Flawless acting, direction and photography combine to produce the pinnacle of the western genre.
Absolute perfection. Without a doubt, `My Darling Clementine' has secured its place in film immortality, resting proudly at the top of the list of the finest westerns ever made. It represents the genre at its peak and the career high point of all involved, including director John Ford and star Henry Fonda. `Clementine' achieves the difficult blend of drama, action, romance and occasional comic relief necessary to appeal to all viewers. This is the kind of film at which Ford excelled - straightforward and powerful, sentimental but never maudlin. It is needless to say that this is the definitive portrayal of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the OK Corral. It may not be the grittiest, most penetrating or historically accurate rendition, but it mixes just the right quantities of realism, legend and Hollywood magic. Its characterizations leave no room for improvement. Henry Fonda was born to play Earp. His folksy, unpretentious demeanor, coupled with the hard edge of a man who must occasionally deal out justice through the barrel of his gun, produce a multidimensional performance that others approaching the role could only dream of. With his portrayal of the tubercular Doc Holliday, Victor Mature forever shed his light image and began a series of solid dramatic roles. Other actors have played Holliday as flamboyant and eccentric, but Mature is effective in approaching him as a fatalist who has relinquished his aspirations of greatness and now lives life one day at a time. He forms an alliance with Earp because he has nothing better to do, and nothing else to live for. Walter Brennan's Old Man Clanton is a study in evil personified, and will certainly shock viewers who know him only as the crotchety but lovable grandfather he played on so many occasions. The rest of the cast is uniformly fine, featuring many members of Ford's `stock company' which followed him throughout his career. Ford's direction is strong and sure-footed. Although this was familiar territory for him, he was careful to instill each scene with a certain degree of uniqueness so the film would never appear routine. In this he was entirely successful, and a brief glance at his filmography confirms that this holds true throughout his body of work. The cinematography is breathtaking. Vast outdoor imagery and intimate gatherings of people are conveyed in an equally compelling manner. Earp's soliloquy at his brother's gravestone, a church dance sequence and the gunfight itself are among the film's many highlights. Only so much praise can be given in a review such as this; it must be seen to be appreciated.
- May 28, 2001
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