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A Misstep from a Master,
This review is from: My Darling Clementine (Bilingual) (DVD)
John Ford is one of the finest and most influential directors in Hollywood history. Films such as 'The Searchers', 'Grapes of Wrath', and 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' are just some of his enduring classics. Directors as diverse as Kurosawa, Scorsese, and Bertolucci (to name a few) have cited him as a major influence on their own work.
That being said, 'My Darling Clementine' does not measure up to Ford's typical work. Only Henry Fonda's performance still resonates by today's standards, with the resolve and quiet dignity he brings to the role of Wyatt Earp. The rest of the film is incredibly clunky. The slapstick interludes are disruptive. The supporting players are not as good as they usually are in Ford movies. Most importantly, Victor Mature's Doc Holliday is mediocre at best. Moreover, the relationship between Earp and Holliday is never really explored. To me, this is at the heart of the OK Corral story. Ford himself hints at this when a Shakespearan performer insightfully remarks, "Two souls by instinct to each other turn, demand allegiance and in friendship burn." In this regard (and others) 'Gunfight at the OK Corral' and 'Tombstone' are superior treatments of the same subject matter.
Still 20th Century FOX should be praised for its efforts in putting these older films from its vault onto dvd. The treatment they give their STUDIO CLASSICS series is top notch -- much better than Paramount, Columbia or Universal. In that regard, 'My Darling Clementine' is no exception.
However, those interested in the early westerns of John Ford should check out 'Stagecoach'.