MY DARLING CLEMENTINE

My Darling Clementine(1946)
With Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, Cathy Downs, Walter Brennan, Jane Darwell, Ward Bond, Tim Holt
Directed by John Ford
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     One of the greatest Western films of all time, as well as one of the most contemplative and visually stunning.  In his idealized depiction of events leading to the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral, director John Ford is wistful about the slow death of the Old West, even as he accepts its inevitability and necessity.  Henry Fonda's portrayal of lawman Wyatt Earp is one of his most appealing: courageous and morally strong, yet humorously shy and awkward as well.  Often dismissed as a no-talent hunk of beefcake, Victor Mature delivers one of his best screen performances as tubercular Doc Holliday; and Walter Brennan, in one of his few villainous roles, is chilling as the patriarch of the Clanton clan.  MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is a slow and reflective film, with long stretches in which nothing much seems to happen, but that's part of its beauty.  Its many subtleties and careful visual compositions ensure revelations with each repeated viewing.  - JL

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