My Darling Clementine (1946) By Julie
My Darling Clementine, Directed by John Ford, is loosely based around Wild West legends the Earp Brothers; (Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan and James) the Clanton Gang, and Doc Holliday, and follows events which led to the gun fight at the O.K Corral. Our main characters are Henry Fonda starring as Wyatt Earp, Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, and Linda Darnell as Chihuahua.
Countless movies made been made about the history of these Wild West legends. My Darling Clementine is a great example of a classic western movie. The few words and awkward silences when two cowboys meet and are trying to figure out one another’s intentions; the town’s saloon and the silence creating a tense atmosphere right before a shoot-out all add to the excitement of the film.
Wyatt Earp and his three brothers Virgil (Tim Holt) Morgan (Ward Bond), and young James (Don Garner), are travelling with their cattle when they come across Old Man Clanton who asks if Wyatt would sell the cattle to which Wyatt says no. Old Man Clanton (Walter Brennan) seems to be friendly towards Wyatt but has other ideas.
After three of the Earp brothers arrive back at camp where they left young James looking after the cattle, they find James dead. Earlier that night in the town of Tombstone, Wyatt saved the town from a drunken Indian who was shooting through windows including the barber shop where Wyatt was going to have a shave. Wyatt initially turns down the offer of the Marshall’s job but James’ death changes all this and Wyatt decides to take on the job until he finds out who murdered their brother and stole the cattle. Virgil and Morgan become Wyatt’s deputies.
Wyatt becomes acquainted with the moody looking Doc Holliday. Things look shaky between the two and the establishment over who is really in charge of Tombstone makes things tense between the two. We do discover that Doc Holliday has a liking for Shakespeare, despite his tough guy reputation.
Doc Holliday’s girlfriend Chihuahua takes an instant disliking to Wyatt after he ignores her when she tries to get his attention during a poker game. Chihuahua has no problem with speaking her mind.
Doc is outraged when a well-dressed, politely spoken lady from his past, Clementine Carter (Cathy Downs) arrives in town looking for him. Doc wants nothing more to do with Clementine and tells her to get out of town. Clementine’s character is much more of a lady compared with the outspoken Chihuahua. But it is Chihuahua Doc is with now.
There is concern surrounding Doc as he has a terrible cough which is only getting worse. Clementine is concerned over this too as she knows he is ill. (The real Doc Holliday died of Tuberculosis.) One night after the barman Mac expresses concern over the amount Doc is drinking, Doc tells Chihuahua to leave him alone, hurting her feelings deeply. The Doc pulls out his gun in a drunken rage, causing Wyatt to knock him out cold.
Chihuahua lets Clementine know of her feelings when she visits Clem’s room;
“I’m Chihuahua, I’m Doc Holliday’s girl. Just wanted to make sure you were packing!”
Clem responds to this by quietly closing the door. She has her pride. Wyatt has taken a liking to Clementine and takes her to the celebration of the first church in Tombstone. Doc is angered when he finds Wyatt and Clem eating Sunday lunch after church and Clem hasn’t left.
Doc decides to leave town in a hurry, leaving a disappointed and upset Chihuahua behind. Wyatt notices the silver crucifix Chihuahua is wearing when she is confronting Clem about Doc’s disappearance. The cross belonged to his murdered brother James. Chihuahua tells Wyatt it was given to her by Doc. But when Wyatt follows Doc out into the desert to confront him, Doc tells Wyatt it wasn’t him. This causes Doc to return and confront Chihuahua over who actually gave her the cross. Just as Chihuahua admits it was Billy Clanton, she is shot by Billy through the window. Despite Doc’s efforts to operate on Chihuahua, she passes away.
Verge’s dead body is dumped in Tombstone by Old Man Clanton after Billy dies.
Old Man Clanton tells Wyatt he will be waiting for him at the O.K Corral. Doc Holliday joins the Wyatt brothers.
The scenes at the O.K Corral were beautifully shot, the silent, tense atmosphere, the build up to the shoot-out, the shots of the Painted Desert in the distance; it really is classic western movie brilliance.
The shoot-out leaves all the Clanton gang dead apart from Old Man Clanton who would have escaped with his life had he not tried to pull his gun on Wyatt as he rode away. Wyatt shoots Old Man Clanton dead, which leaves him and his brother Morgan. Doc Holliday is also shot after being caught off guard when he has another one of his coughing spells, but manages to get a shot in against the Clanton gang before he dies.
Now the mystery of who killed James has been solved, it’s finally time for Wyatt and his brother to move on. Wyatt tells Clementine goodbye and promises to visit her in Tombstone, where she will be working at the school.
My Darling Clementine, although not historically accurate, is a great classic film for fans of the western. The movie has sparked my curiosity as to the real life accounts of these men who, as time has proved, will never be forgotten.
My Darling Clementine (Special Edition) [DVD](1946) DVD
John Ford’s masterful western stars Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp, who arrives in the lawless Arizona town of Tombstone on a cattle drive with his brothers. A deadly encounter with the ruthless Clanton family leads Wyatt to become the town marshal and culminates in a fateful confrontation at the O.K. Corral. Walter Brennan, Linda Darnell, Cathy Downs, and Victor Mature as “Doc” Holliday also star. Pre-release version; 103 min./Theatrical version; 97 min. Standard; Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital stereo, Dolby Digital mono, French Dolby Digital mono, Spanish Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; audio commentary; photo gallery; theatrical trailer. Also includes the bonus feature “Frontier Marshal” (1939). Two-disc set.