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My Darling Clementine Blu-ray Review

My Darling Clementine Blu-ray

“My Darling Clementine” is not John Ford’s best work.

At the start of John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine,” former Dodge City Marshal Wyatt Earp and his brothers are cattle herders who are stopping in the lawless town of Tombstone. After a group of unidentified cattle rustlers kill one of Wyatt’s brothers, he decides to stick around and take the job as a temporary Marshal of Tombstone to find out who is responsible. During his stay, Wyatt meets the former Doctor, gambler, drunkard and gunfighter Doc Holliday, encounters a former love of Doc’s by the name of Clementine, and runs into the Clanton Gang who turn out to be responsible for the death of Wyatt’s brother. If you know your history, you know that the Earp-Clanton feud results in the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

While the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes are quintessential John Ford, the middle portion of “My Darling Clementine” is mighty sluggish. While the viewer waits for the inevitable showdown at the O.K. Corral, they are forced to endure meandering subplots that detract from the overall story such as the storylines involving Doc Holliday’s jealous saloon girl lover Chihuahua and the stage actor. Why there weren’t more scenes involving the Clanton Gang, I don’t know, but it sure would have nice to see more of Walter Brennan’s scene stealing Newman Clanton.

On the upside, the film does give actors Henry Fonda (Wyatt Earp) and Victor Mature (Doc Holliday) a lot of room to work with. Since the middle act is rather open, the veteran actors are able to let their characters develop and breathe. Their stand-out performances may not make up for the film’s shortcomings, but they certainly make the film worth watching.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? This is a beautiful B&W transfer. The scene where Earp first arrives in Tombstone and the end shootout look particularly stunning here.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? The songs, gunfire, dialogue, and music really make an audible impact.

Extras:
* “My Darling Clementine” trailer.
* A booklet containing an essay by writer/author David Jenkins.
* A Lux Radio Theatre radio drama adaptation of “My Darling Clementine.”
* The 6 minute longer pre-release version of the film
* “Bandit’s Wager”- A silent short western by John Ford’s brother Francis Ford.
* “Today: Report on Monument Valley”- A short “Today” show segment about the history of the Monument Valley and its use in cinema.
* “Lost and Gone Forever”- A video essay by film scholar/author Tag Gallagher. He chats about the history of Wyatt Earp, “My Darling Clementine,” John Ford, and more.
* “Version Comparison”- A piece about the comparisons between the pre-release and theatrical versions of “My Darling Clementine.”
* “Print The Legend”- A 14 minute interview with western scholar/author Andrew C. Isenberg who talks about Wyatt Earp, Tombstone, O.K. Corral, books and films about Earp, etc. The stories about Earp’s real life are completely informative and fascinating.
* “David Brinklet Journal: Tombstone”- A segment on the history of Tombstone from the “David Brinkley Journal” NBC series.
* A solid commentary by film scholar/author Joseph McBride. Expect to hear lots of stories about John Ford, WWII, westerns, shots, trivia, Henry Fonda, and much more. It’s not the most exciting track, but McBride certainly has plenty to say here.

Overall Thoughts: While not on par with the likes of “The Searchers” or the Cavalry trilogy, there is still much to admire about the flawed “My Darling Clementine.”

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October 21, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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