Earp agrees to become marshal and establish order in Tombstone in this very romanticized version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral (e.g., Doc is killed by Curley before the actual battle and Earp must do the job alone).
Early low budget version of the famous Gunfight at OK Corral with Scott as Wyatt Earp and Romero as Doc Holiday. Remade by John Ford as "My Darling Clementine" in 1946 and by John Sturges as "Gunfight at OK Corral" in 1957 Written by
Eddie Foy originally met Doc Holliday, Earp, and Bat Masterson in Dodge City when he first started touring and was shot out. It is also rumored that he was in Tombstone performing at the time of the OK Corral shootout. See more »
The film is set in the period from 1877 to 1880, but three of the songs sung were published in the late 1880s. See more »
You're a smart girl. Are you playin' me for a sucker, or do you wnt a cut in?
No, the only way you can cut me in... see that Curly Bill takes care of Earp.
Oh, you don't like him either?
No, I don't like him either. The happiest day of my life will be when I can sit on hiscoffin.
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What's most interesting about Frontier Marshal is the fact that it is clearly the genesis of My Darling Clementine, directed by John Ford seven years later. It is hard to view this movie without automatically thinking of the parallel scenes in MDC, and Ford's film draws heavily on the inter-relationships of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Sarah(Clementine in Ford's film) and the saloon girl, Jerry(Chihuahua). Other scenes are reworked into Ford's film as well the disarming of the drunken Indian, dunking of the saloon girl into the trough, Doc Holliday attempting to redeem himself by performing surgery on a gunshot victim(in this case, the son of the Mexican bartender(in Ford's film, it was Chihuahua, Doc's `girl'), and a wandering theatric (a comic here, a Shakespearian thespian in MDC). This film is much slighter, with fewer themes and subtexts than Ford's and concentrates mostly on the relationship between Earp and Holliday and Holliday's redemption at the end. It plays out like a programmer, running a mere 71 minutes, so granted there isn't much time to devote to anything else. The themes of chaos versus order, civilization versus wilderness are only hinted at, and Randolph Scott is adequate as Wyatt Earp but without the underlying vulnerability(and humor) of Fonda's performance. The same might be said of Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday (for some reason changed to Halliday). He doesn't have the depth of Victor Mature's tortured Doc, in what was perhaps his best performance in any film, but the same self-destructive streak is evident as he attempts to drink himself to death, only to be stopped by Earp. Clearly, MDC was the more thought provoking of the two, but it cannot be denied that without Frontier Marshal, there would have been no MDC, or at least the one I consider a true western classic. What a quirk of fate that Ward Bond is in both films--the ineffective town marshal here, and later promoted to the role of Morgan Earp in Ford's version.
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