My Darling Clementine Blu-ray Review at Flickering Myth and below…
John Ford’s classic Western gets a prestigious release on Blu-ray containing a stagecoach load of extras and features uncovering the legend of Ford and his personal vision of the Wild West.
My Darling Clementine is a perfect example of Ford’s brand of pure Western, containing elements of gun-toting action, wry humour and episodic tragedy. An overriding bleakness informs the film, which at its heart is an examination of the relationship between the Marshall of Tombstone, Wyatt Earp (a definitive role for Henry Fonda) and the morally ambiguous, tuberculosis suffering Doc Holliday (Victor Mature).
Focusing on the events that inspire the famous battle, the film takes us on the route taken by the Earp brothers as they lead a herd of cattle to California. Tiring from the heat, and with the animals in dire need of food and rest, they hear about the nearby town of Tombstone. Deciding to take a look, the older brothers leave youngest James with the cattle, while they check out the opportunities.
Wyatt soon realises what kind of a town Tombstone is – if the name itself wasn’t enough of a hint – when a drunk wild-man starts randomly shooting at locals. Wyatt takes him on and easily defeats him. Returning to the cattle, he and his brothers find James dead, and the animals gone.
Wyatt agrees to become Marshall to uncover exactly who murdered his brother and in order extract revenge. Along the way he meets Doc Holliday, Clementine Carver (Cathy Downs) and local saloon entertainer Chihuahua (Linda Darnell). The grim vagabond band of the Clanton gang are also an integral part of the ensemble.
Ford’s film was partly based on a fictionalised biography of Wyatt Earp named Frontier Marshall, which is also the name of a 1939 film included in this deluxe edition.
The stirring movie is an undisputed classic and a touchstone both in Ford’s career and in American cinema in general. A terrific starting point for anyone looking for an education in American folklore and mythology, My Darling Clementine stands alongside Stagecoach and The Searchers as one of the directors best-loved movies.