on April 28, 2016
You know when you read the title that you started singing the song in your head and rightly so as it plays every time Clemintine comes around. Its a sad theme in this wonderful 1946 classic film.
The restoration of the original film pops in all its black and white glory! This is why I get Criterion films, it looks like it was just shot only a couple of months ago. The cinematography is beautiful both in the actual visuals and in the framing of the shots with very subtle use of the setting. Just look at the cover! You don't often see movies shot this well, period.
John Ford deserved his reputation as a great director, Henry Fonda was brilliant! How much can I say that's good about this film?
My favorite scene, without giving anything away, is when Wyatt Earp meets Doc Holliday and they are kind of at odds. You don't quite know who's who in this meeting/confrontation so you aren't quite sure who has the upper hand or what either man is capable of. The tension is fantastic, and they let you know who the better man is later on in spectacular fashion!
So much is expressed in this film by action rather than words, a look, a pause, a nervous motion says volumes! Even where the actors are standing with respect to the set pieces speaks, its everything a film should be. All of this speaks volumes to the ability of the actors and director. Such a rare film is this that I can't help but gush!
The plot is simple and even a bit predictable but it doesn't matter because you don't need a complex plot when you are making a film this well crafted.
I mean, you know there is a conflict that will come to a head at the end, but how will we get there? You know the good guys are going to win, but against these odds, how? Getting there is so beautiful and entertaining that the how is just so much better and exciting!
Its no wonder that they called this time in Hollywood the golden age.
Why are you still reading this review? BUY THIS FILM! (...and don't skimp! Get the Criterion release!)
on April 12, 2014
The love interest was pretty mild compared to what we know as a love story these days, so interesting to see how times have changed. The movie doesn't compare well to today's high drama and special effects, but if you watch it in context to when it was filmed, its a great flick. The quality was good tho I'm no expert on remastering. Arrived in good time and great condition.
on January 6, 2004
"My Darling Clementine" is the tragic western/melodrama that pits the likes of Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda)and Doc Halladay (Victor Mature)against the vicious Clanton (Walter Brennan) for a showdown at the O.K. Corral. Linda Darnell cuts a handsome/tragic figure as the saloon hall girl with a heart of gold. On par with "High Noon", "My Darling Clementine" is a western that, once seen, is never to be forgotten.
TRANSFER: KUDOS to Fox. Their DVD is head and shoulders above previously issued VHS and laserdisc versions of this eternal classic. The black and white picture is very well balanced, with solid blacks and an exceptional spectrum of tonal grays. Film grain is evident throughout - as it should be. There are no digital anomalies for a picture that is smooth, solid and wholly enjoyable. Occasionally there is a slight jump in the image, during certain splices or cuts from one scene to the next, but these are vintage imperfections which do not detract from your visual enjoyment. The audio has been remixed to stereo and is nicely balanced.
EXTRAS: We get the original theatrical cut and the preview cut of the film. Apparantly, Darryl F. Zanuck was none too impressed with John Ford's original version - cutting it down by a half hour and altering several key scenes. These are painstakingly re-created by film archivist, Robert Gitt, in a mini-documentary on the making of the film. Very nicely done.
BOTTOM LINE: An absolute must for film lovers and DVD collectors.
on August 29, 2011
Great movie, video quality was excellent, a great job on the restoration of the film and the film to DVD transfer. Scenic shots of the desert are spectacular. Fonda was great, as was Walter Brennan, in this film.
on January 19, 2004
Historical only in that the Earps and Clantons indeed had a gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone. Everything else is pure fantasy... fantastic fantasy. Henry Fonda plays a laid-back Wyatt Earp who doesn't mind allowing others their space, but stands firm when they cross the line.
Well scripted, well acted, a western that should appeal even to those who normally wouldn't watch a western. The good guys are well developed, multi-dimensional and likable.
The bad guys, especially usually lovable Walter Brennan, are obviously evil. Enough action, enough intrigue, enough romance.
on November 2, 2014
Classic tale of Wyatt Erp and the shoot-out at the OK Corral. But more then that it was a classic performance by Henry Fonda as Wyatt. And was there ever a better voice for old man Clanton? More then the gun battle, there was a love story, giving the film its name. I remember the episode of MASH when this movie was played and they all acted out the shoot-out... Classic!
Criterion has done s masterful job on restoring the film to HD quality, stunning B&W. And not only that, bonus features that tell the real story of the Erp family and how the "legend" came to life.
on June 7, 2004
Of the many movies that I love and own, this is one of the DVDs I would grab if the house was on fire.
My Darling Clementine is fundamentally about the shootout at the OK Corral, arguably the most famous 30 seconds in American history. But in John Ford's loving hands, the story takes its time getting there and, in the process, becomes as graceful and easily beautiful a piece of film-making as you will ever see.
In this age when movie goers prize realism, sheer violence, and de-mythology, Ford has become something of a whipping boy for those who point out the glaring historical inaccuracies present in Hollywood's traditional portrayal of the American West. These folks miss the larger picture and are the poorer for their narrow, fashionable view. In this archetypal story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and the Clanton family, Ford was not interested in historical detail. He was creating legends, not historical accounts for the archives.
Ford was a film maker. When a movie lover approaches a Ford film, it becomes necessary to give oneself over to the power of film. Once one does that, tremendous pleasures await. Such as: the townspeople of Tombstone having a dance around the skeletal frame of a half-built church while the huge, flat buttes of Monument Valley tower in the background; or Henry Fonda as Earp watching with great sympathy as Victor Mature (Doc Holiday) recites Hamlet's suicide soliloquy in a barroom (as hokey as this sounds, it is Fonda's expression that will move you, I guarantee).
Other images worth mentioning: Fonda/Earp walking alone through the rain of Tombstone at night; or the final shot of Clementine (meaningless in the film other than as a perfect symbol of all the things men love but can never have) standing framed against the Arizona sky and a picket fence - or the way Walter Brennan as Old Man Clanton, flashes through his scenes like a rattler's hiss.
Loving a John Ford Western is a bit like believing in a religion: it requires a leap of faith - a belief in something that might not be tangible reality, but is instead an ideal no less worthy of love.
This DVD is an absolute must for Ford fans, Western fans, or movie lovers. As an extra bonus, the special feature commentary by Ford biographer, Scott Eyman, is absolutely superb. Mr. Eyman's concise and rich commentary is nearly as enjoyable as the film itself. All in all, a real treasure for John Ford fans. -Mykal Banta
on January 2, 2012
This film is excellent!! Considering that it was restored and half of the footage had to be restored and scenes had to be re edited because footage of the film was either lost or damaged. This is indeed a rare classic. Also the light in this picture is very unique. Any one that loves wester's movies should watch this one. It is action from start to end!!!
on January 7, 2004
One particular scene sums up all that is powerful and great about MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, now finally released on DVD in a crystal sharp print that makes silvery black and white breathe with vivid color. John Ford's fictious film about the epic battle between evil (the savagery of the brutal Clanton clan)and good (the polite and civil Wyatt boys)portrays an America that never was but, in the hearts of romantics everywhere, should have been and-with a great dose of hope and work-could be and should be.
In the middle of the film, the desperate-to-become-civilized citizens of Tombstone gleefully celebrate their blossoming civility by holding a square dance in a just-barely built church. The gallant Wyatt Earp (brilliantly underplayed by Henry Fonda)dances with soon-to-become school marm Clementine underneath both a cloudless sky and the flying colors of "old glory". Watching Fonda and Cathy Downs (Clementine)high step across the rough-hewn church floor to the tune of "Shoo-Fly"-played by a rag-tag bunch of musicians (the saloon plunker amoung them)- fills the viewer with a rush of hope and grace. Perhaps America is big enough for all of our possibilities. We are all works in progress- as is our very nation. At least that is what Ford wants us to think.
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is a jewel filled with many such scenes of folksy poetry. The performances are all solid- even "beefcake" Victor Mature delivers a passable portayal.
Special mention must be made of Walter Brennan- one of America's finest actors ever- delivering a terrifying against type performance as the villianous "Old Man Clanton". It is as if Grendel's mother is re-incarnated as a renigade cattle baron. He literally drips with deceitful malice. The fact that he is so likable as an actor makes his performance all the more creepy.
Now that this, one of America's finest films, is released on DVD-and at a most affordable price- it is time MY DARLING CLEMENTINE resides in your classic film library.
on April 14, 2005
My Darling Clemintine
"My Darling Clementine" is one of those films about which so much has been written(including a good Rutgers "Films In Print" entry),that it seems pointless to belabour it's greatness.I award it five stars only because there are no more available."Clementine" is less a story than a series of incidents,and since the purchase of a video implies repeat viewings,this one is a natural for everyone's permanent collection.I'm all for lean,tightly constructed westerns(of which the James Stewart/Anthony Manns are excellent examples),but the leisurely "Clementine"---austere,relaxed,filled with moments that seem utterly spontaneous---has a roughhewn,unrehearsed quality that's all the more surprising in a major studio "A" western.Since we're dealing with Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the O.K.Corall,the narrative does eventually assert itself,if only to steer us toward the final confrontation---but the device involving the stolen "Chingadera" and it's reappearance around Linda Darnell's neck,seems almost an intrusion,taking us away from the simpler moments we've enjoyed(for nearly two-thirds of the running time!),and reminding us that there is a story which must be told and now let's get down to the business of telling it.More telling,however,are the many and marvelous details Ford reveals throughout---check out Doc Holliday's room in the hotel---not only do we see his diplomas,but there are photos of a college rowing team on the water---a wonderfully vivid and underplayed glimpse of Doc's past life.There's delightful scenes of people eating meals---big meals---alone and in groups---whereas in so many lesser westerns,all they do is drink whiskey.I love Ward Bond's frequent recitals of what he's just had,or is going to have,for breakfast.The Clantons may be outlaws,but they have framed pictures in their house and potted plants out front---even in town,they move about with familiar ease(check out the way Brennan walks behind the hotel counter to get his own room key).When the Earps are overlooking Tombstone(a stunning shot)just before their initial ride in,Wyatt regards it all quietly for a moment,follows with a resigned "Let's go..",as if knowing something disagreeable lies ahead.The business with the barber and his "sweet smellin' stuff" has been celebrated elsewhere,so I'll only add that the gag works beautifully for me because it's so underplayed---notice how both Tim Holt and Cathy Downs react to Fonda's explanation of the "honeysuckle"---both could have gone for an unsubtle laugh,and in a lesser director's hands,they might have.Several previous films had dealt with the Wyatt Earp legend---two are outstanding---"Law and Order",directed by Edward L.Cahn,and "Frontier Marshall",directed by Alan Dwan.The fact that neither are available on video points up the sorry state of affairs in home collecting these days---such a tiny portion of our great movie past is out there,and with each new technology being so ruthlessy swept away by the next,it seems unlikely that we'll be seeing many new releases of vintage titles in the near future(if at all).Still,there is "Clementine",and if you haven't already keyed it in for purchase,do yourself(and your viewing friends)a favor and buy it now.This is truly a picture you'll want to watch again and again.