Synopsis: After his brother, James, is killed by the Clanton gang, Wyatt Earp reluctantly accepts the role of marshal of the wild west town of Tombstone. This ultimately leads to a shootout at the OK Corral. But, first, Earp meets and befriends a gambler named Doc Holliday and becomes romantically involved with Clementine Carter.
Movie Review: My Darling Clementine (1946)
A review of the 1946 western starring Henry Fonda and Victor Mature.
To tell you the truth, the only reason I have even heard of this movie was because it was featured on a re-run of the show M*A*S*H. And, while I'm not a big fan of westerns in general, I did think the few clips that were shown were somewhat intriguing and, when I had an opportunity to watch it, I decided to do so. Overall, I thought it was a really good movie.
When i started watching this film, I figured it would be similar to the dozens of other classic westerns I've watched. And, technically, I was right. This western had what all the others did, tough guy cowboys, beautiful (but weak) women and plenty of gun play. However, as I watched the movie, I found it was much more than the average western.
I think the thing I really liked about this film is the way it attempted to give some depth to the famous lawman, Wyatt Earp (Fonda). This film, while historically inaccurate (it's not even set in the correct year), portrays Earp as a man who was tough when he needed to be but also wasn't afraid to loosen up a bit, such as when he dances with Clementine (Downs).
I also liked the relationship Earp had with Holliday (Mature) in this film. I figured, like most Wyatt Earp movies, they would be portrayed as inseparable friends. Instead, they were at odds with each other much more often than they were on the same page. This did lead to some question about whether or not they would ultimately have a confrontation to determine which of them was really running Tombstone.
As a result of this, I was concerned the final confrontation with the Clanton crew would be a bit of a let down. However, once again, that was also pretty entertaining. There was a good mix of stunt work and drama to keep it from becoming the typical "been there, done that" gunfight that has been portrayed numerous times. And, if nothing else, it was a nice, action-filled ending to an otherwise good classic movie.
As I said, the filmmakers took some liberties when it came to historical accuracy. But, other than that, this is a western film done right. I can see why M*A*S*H's Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) loved it so much.
My Grade: A
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