Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is ... See full summary »
Wyatt Earp and his brothers Morgan and Virgil ride into Tombstone and leave brother James in charge of their cattle herd. On their return they find their cattle stolen and James dead. Wyatt takes on the job of town marshal, making his brothers deputies, and vows to stay in Tombstone until James' killers are found. He soon runs into the brooding, coughing, hard-drinking Doc Holliday as well as the sullen and vicious Clanton clan. Wyatt discovers the owner of a trinket stolen from James' dead body and the stage is set for the Earps' long-awaited revenge. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director John Ford, who in his youth had known the real Wyatt Earp, claimed the way the OK Corral gunfight was staged in this film was the way it was explained to him by Earp himself, with a few exceptions. See more »
The movie shows Virgil Earp killed (murdered - shot in back) by Old Man Clanton. However, in actuality, Virgil survived being shot from ambush on 28 December 1881, but never fully recovered from the wound in his left arm. He lived until 1905, succumbing to pneumonia at age 57. See more »
[after the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt refuses to shoot Old Man Clanton]
Old Man Clanton:
My boys... Ike! Sam! Phin! Billy!
They're dead. I ain't gonna kill you. I hope you live a hundred years... so you'll feel just a little what my pa's gonna feel. Now get out of town - start wandering!
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Saw "My Darling Clementine," yet again, yes, but this time on the big screen, not on TV, which was like listening to an old favorite recording on a super stereo system and noticing all sorts of details that in the aggregate make it like watching an entirely new film for the first time.
John Ford is so AMERICAN. It's just all there: the black, the shining; the pure, the defiled. I'm tempted to call him the Norman Rockwell of film, but that would diminish him. Simple, yes, but simplistic, never.
The plot is merely a framework, firm, pure, austere, functional, fairly disappearing, invisible, an excuse for the real fun, film for film's sake, the pure joy of seeing and imagining.
Ford foregoes the extraneous; chatty dialogue is dispense with for what's really important, the eyes, the faces, the body language. Damn, why have movies become so complicated, so noisy?
Henry Fonda's diffident but sure slowhand is classic -- the laconic American. Victor Mature's Mediterranean sensuality is the foil to Fonda's Puritan austerity, (the same north-south polarity is echoed in Cathy Downs as Clementine vs. Linda Darnell as Chihuahua). But, hell, let's not get analytical or intellectual. The movie is instinctual. It's the grown-up version of kids' play-acting, subconscious, freeing.
The images are stunning: a stagecoach whipped into demonic fury, a possessed Doc Holliday riding shotgun over a hurricane of dust and horse hooves. Injustice is blunt: cold summary execution with a shot in the back. American decency is unabashed: an aw-shucks square dance beneath fluttering Old Glory's. Love is a dream we cannot reach, are not worthy of.
Every scene is caught in midstream, in the act, in motion. Damn, it seems so fresh.
This is the Western all others imitate.
PS. Also by John Ford, and essential in the American repertoire: "Young Mr. Lincoln," "Grapes of Wrath," "Stagecoach," "The Searchers," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "Rio Grande," & "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
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