Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Darling Clementine

The gunfight at O.K. Corral is one of the western myths that keeps being retold. It seems every generation gets its version. Unfortunately, I belong to the generation that gets Tombstone, from 93, one of the silliest and least convincing westerns ever (even though Val Kilmer was good as Doc Holliday). I haven't seen Doc yet, from 71, a revisionist version with Stacy Keach in the titlerole. Gunfight At O.K. Corral, from 57, with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, is pretty good, and then there is My Darling Clementine, by John Ford, from 1946.

If I were asked to name my three favourite westerns, I'm not sure which would be nr. 1, Rio Bravo or The Searchers. I like both equally. But nr. 3 would be My Darling Clementine. Henry Fonda stars as Wyatt Earp, Victor Mature as Doc Holliday and Linda Darnell as Chihuahua, a saloon singer in love with Doc. Ah, Linda Darnell... The story takes place in Ford's beloved Monument Valley, the mountain formations often visible in the backgrounds. There's a lyricality in the best of John Ford's westerns that is often missing in other films from that period. He sure knew where to put the camera. In this film he's also got a great story, told in marvelous black and white, and is avoiding the broad humour that marred some of his later films. A masterpiece.


  1. "It's me". A good use of the much neglected smell in a movie...

  2. It's a great script. Dialogue(from memory, I might get it wrong):
    -Bill, have you ever been in love?
    -No, I've been a bartender all my life.

  3. That's great! I have to watch it again soon.