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104 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ford's Poetic View of the West
If you're looking for a straight-forward, factual presentation of the events leading up to the 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral', please buy 'Wyatt Earp', or 'Tombstone' from Amazon.com...But if you prefer your history more spiritual, and want to see a master storyteller paint a visual canvas of a West that may never have existed, but SHOULD have, then this film will be a...
Published on February 9, 2000 by Benjamin J Burgraff

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Quality of film impaired.
I am disappointed that the dvd did not have a quality to it - either the film or the dvd itself is damaged and could not allow the movie to flow. Constant interruption and pauses in the dvd.
Published 22 months ago by Jacqueline E. Girard


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104 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Ford's Poetic View of the West, February 9, 2000
If you're looking for a straight-forward, factual presentation of the events leading up to the 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral', please buy 'Wyatt Earp', or 'Tombstone' from Amazon.com...But if you prefer your history more spiritual, and want to see a master storyteller paint a visual canvas of a West that may never have existed, but SHOULD have, then this film will be a treasured part of your video collection!
John Ford knew Wyatt Earp, personally, and was familiar with the events surrounding the Tombstone shootout, but one of his greatest assets as a director was his ability to look beyond simple facts, and focus on legend. 'My Darling Clementine' is a story of icons, of the Loner, battling his own weaknesses, and creating something lasting, then walking away, to allow Civilization to grow. It's a classic theme in Ford's work (he would return to it in 'The Searchers', and 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'), as well as in many other directors' westerns ('Shane', 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'The Wild Bunch').
While Wyatt Earp (wonderfully portrayed by Henry Fonda) is surrounded by his brothers in the film, he has an aloofness that makes his character both complex, and enigmatic at the same time. At the film's start, he's a cowpuncher, who had walked away from the responsibilities of being a lawman, finding satisfaction in the hard work and solitary life of the range. When the Clantons (led by Walter Brennan, in one of his greatest roles), first approach the brothers, while Wyatt accepts an invitation to get a taste of city life, it's clear that it will be a brief stay, before he moves on, and he brushes aside any overtures of friendship.
His lack of desire to commit to a larger community is stressed after he barehandedly captures a drunken Indian (based on an actual event in Earp's life), then turns down the Marshal's badge. Only after a brother is murdered do the Earp brothers agree to help clean up the town.
In counterpoint to Earp is Doc Holliday (sensitively portrayed by Victor Mature), an intellectual who fled the South, and had found his own solitude by virtue of his guns, his gambling, and his illness. While Earp is a true 'Man of the West', however, Holliday is a fish out of water, truly comfortable only in a crowded bar. He is doomed, more by his own shrinking world, than by the disease that forces him to cough into his handkerchief.
The scenes of Earp in the town are wonderful, as Civilization builds around an uncomfortable stranger. Yet Earp toys with the idea of settling into this world, through his politely formal relationship with Doc's lost love, Clementine. The scene at the church dance, where the stiffy formal Earp dances against the vista of a West being 'boarded in' is symbolic of what his own life was becoming, and is classic Ford!
The climactic shootout is powerful and raw, ultimately freeing Earp from the constraints of a life that would have been unnatural for him, and ending the downward spiral of Holliday's life, in an heroic gesture.
It's often asked why Earp leaves, afterwards, when Clementine and the Tombstone are so attractive...The answer is simple, really; his work is finished, and their future will be constrained into a world of wood and 'progress'. The Loner, the 'Man of the West' would have no place there. Like Ethan, or Shane, he must return to the solitary vistas that are his true home.
What a story! What a film!
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare in Tombstone, June 7, 2004
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This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
An update on the below review: I would like to add that I have just watched the new Criterion Collection Blu-Ray edition of this film, and the quality of picture is outstanding. Far better than the previous editions on DVD; and you should certainly purchase it for this reason. HOWEVER, do NOT throw out your DVD version because the commentary by Scott Eyman on the DVD release is far superior to the commentary of Joseph McBride on the Blu-Ray edition. Eyman's insight into film making is much better than is Mr. McBride's, who is also a biographer of Ford (as is Eyman). McBride uses his time in the commentary track discussing the truthfulness or validity of Ford's conception of the West, and discussing Ford's life; whereas Eyman discusses the art of the film itself - discussing the power of actors in scenes, the art of the direction, cinematography, etc. Eyman discusses the life of Ford and the actor's some, but not too much. McBride is the reverse. In fact, at one point when discussing the actual film, McBride apologizes for "digressing." I find Mr. McBride's approach not nearly as interesting as Eyman's. Now - here is my original review

Of the many movies that I love and own, this is one of the DVDs I would grab if the house was on fire.
My Darling Clementine is fundamentally about the shootout at the OK Corral, arguably the most famous 30 seconds in American history. But in John Ford's loving hands, the story takes its time getting there and, in the process, becomes as graceful and easily beautiful a piece of film-making as you will ever see.
In this age when movie goers prize realism, sheer violence, and de-mythology, Ford has become something of a whipping boy for those who point out the glaring historical inaccuracies present in Hollywood's traditional portrayal of the American West. These folks miss the larger picture and are the poorer for their narrow, fashionable view. In this archetypal story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and the Clanton family, Ford was not interested in historical detail. He was creating legends, not historical accounts for the archives.
Ford was a film maker. When a movie lover approaches a Ford film, it becomes necessary to give oneself over to the power of film. Once one does that, tremendous pleasures await. Such as: the townspeople of Tombstone having a dance around the skeletal frame of a half-built church while the huge, flat buttes of Monument Valley tower in the background; or Henry Fonda as Earp watching with great sympathy as Victor Mature (Doc Holiday) recites Hamlet's suicide soliloquy in a barroom (as hokey as this sounds, it is Fonda's expression that will move you, I guarantee).

Other images worth mentioning: Fonda/Earp walking alone through the rain of Tombstone at night; or the final shot of Clementine (meaningless in the film other than as a perfect symbol of all the things men love but can never have) standing framed against the Arizona sky and a picket fence - or the way Walter Brennan as Old Man Clanton, flashes through his scenes like a rattler's hiss.

Loving a John Ford Western is a bit like believing in a religion: it requires a leap of faith - a belief in something that might not be tangible reality, but is instead an ideal no less worthy of love.

This DVD is an absolute must for Ford fans, Western fans, or movie lovers. As an extra bonus, the special feature commentary by Ford biographer, Scott Eyman, is absolutely superb. Mr. Eyman's concise and rich commentary is nearly as enjoyable as the film itself. All in all, a real treasure for John Ford fans. -Mykal Banta
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRITERION'S BLU-RAY OF JOHN FORD'S "MY DARLING CLEMENTINE" IS ONE OF THE YEAR'S BEST, October 17, 2014
With Criterion, you always know what you're getting ahead of time when you purchase any of the Blu-rays and DVD'S that this great company has released over the years and that's certainly true of their newest release, John Ford's "My Darling Clementine"(1946). I've owned every video presentation of this great film over the years(VHS, DVD) but never liked the picture quality and always thought it was too dark and not the way that Ford intended audiences to see his picture. Those concerns have been put to rest with this new Criterion release which is absolutely stunning. According to the liner notes in the enclosed booklet: "This new digital transfer was created in 4K resolution from a 35 mm nitrate composite fine-grain held by the Museum of Modern Art. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps jitter, and flicker were manually removed." Those who have any doubts about keeping their old VHS or DVD copies of "Clementine" until something better comes along can put those doubts away. Criterion's new Blu-ray of "My Darling Clementine" will be the industry standard for many years to come. The story is not very accurate(based on Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt Earp) but to quote a line from another Ford film: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend" and is enjoyable all the same. Ford used the great cinematographer Joe MacDonald to film "Clementine" and nearly every shot in the film is pristine(bitrate: 26.99) and looks glorious on Blu-ray. Even the night time scenes which were a problem in previously released versions are clearer now and you can see the smallest details. Shadows are very prominent during these scenes as well as some of the daylight scenes with blacks, whites and grays being evenly balanced though out. There is more depth and definition which should please fans of the film. The Monument Valley location is really highlighted in B & W by MacDonald's cinematography. The costumes and sets are very detailed more than ever in Blu-ray but do not distract from the story. Ford gets the most out of his actors with top honors going to Walter Brennan in a rare bad guy role and Linda Darnell as Doc Holliday's girlfriend, Chihuahua. Darnell was an underrated actress and nearly steals the picture from stars Henry Fonda and Victor Mature. Like all Criterion releases, there are a lot of special features. Viewers have the option of watching the Theatrical release(97 minutes) or the Pre-lease version(103 minutes). There is a restoration feature by Robert Gitt that explains the difference between the two versions. Please note that only the 97 minute Theatrical version has been restored(Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1). The audio(English LPCM 1.0) has been remastered and cleaned of any hiss, pops or other annoying artifacts. Subtitles include English SDH. In addition to all the special features there is an informative booklet by film historian David Jenkins on the making of the film(Ford's version was originally 133 minutes!). The Blu-ray itself is housed in one of Criterion's standard and sturdy clear Blu-ray cases. Anyone purchasing Criterion's new Blu-ray of John Ford's "My Darling Clementine" will not be disappointed and it's one of the best Blu-ray releases of the year. It comes highly recommented.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWISTED HISTORY, BUT ONE OF THE GREATEST WESTERNS EVER!, June 16, 2005
By 
Amazon Customer "MRD" (Somewhere in the Field) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
TWISTED HISTORY AND ONE OF THE GREATEST WESTERNS EVER!

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is a Western enigma. On the one hand it's about as messed up when it comes to history as it can get but on the other hand, when considering its cinematography, star quality and pure western appeal, it's nothing short of a masterpiece.

Yes, the story involves the Earps, Doc Holliday and the Clantons and the story is set in Tombstone, Arizona, but that's where history ends. From chronological problems about the relative age of the Earp brothers, who is who and who dies when or at all, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is nothing short of a circus! History clearly shows that while Morgan was shot in the back and killed by unknown assailants (and not Virgil), Virgil, who was crippled in Tombstone, went on to a career as a law enforcement officer in California. Also very little is known about James Earp. One thing is certain. James did not die as a teenager during a raid on the Earp cattle herd.

Another interesting historic problem arises with the portrayal of Doc Holliday. It's historically easy to show that Doc was a Georgian (not from Boston) and that he died in Colorado of his terminal tuberculosis (and not of gunshot wounds at the OK Corral in Tombstone). While Doc derived his famous name from his being a doctor in a life that preceded his career as a gambler and bloodthirsty killer, his specialty was dentistry and not surgery. So when he performs a medical procedure on his girlfriend, wounded by Billy Clanton, her hopes are slim in Holliday's care unless, of course, she was shot in the mouth.

Perhaps the historical problems are why it's titled MY DARLING CLEMENTINE and not WYATT EARP or TOMBSTONE.

But watch this one for its movie value and don't reject it for its lack of historical accuracy. Look past the names of the main characters and the geographic location and what emerges is a marvelous movie classic. John Ford is at his best directing what many believe is one of the finest classic Westerns ever. The beauty of monument valley, western sunsets, and the black and white cinematography for which Ford was famous redeem the historic shortcomings of this film with plenty to spare.

Add to that the acting of Henry Fonda, Ward Bond, Walter Brennan and Victor Mature and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE will be a Western that will keep you coming back again and again.

The DVD release of the film is packed with extras including two versions of the film; the first a pre-release version that Ford felt was the best of the film and the second, the version of the film that was ultimately released in theaters. Expert commentary by individuals that explain why the film is available in two versions is especially enlightening.

THE HORSEMAN
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Paced Western, April 1, 2004
By 
S. Doyle (Dublin 6, Ireland Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
I have always put"My Darling Clementine" in my top-ten westerns as do some critics,and after viewing it recently on the excellent DVD version I am considering it to be the best! The alternative version on the disc might not be to everyones taste but westerns should be slow paced(check out the excellent "Open Range")not just shoot-ups added for padding every 20 minutes or so. One of the best scenes in this movie or any other western is the excellent dance scene,especially the moment when Henry Fonda asks Kathy Downes to dance. Definetely Ford at his best and Victor Mature,s best hour as well. Kudos to all for a well produced DVD package
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A DVD for Ford Fans, January 2, 2004
By 
Mr Peter G George (Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
Although My Darling Clementine involves the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and their gunfight with the Clantons at the O.K. Corral, John Ford's focus is at least as much on mood and relationships as it is on gunplay. He is less interested in retelling the historical events accurately, than in evoking the times in an emotionally involving way. Ford's film, as is shown by the title, is as much a love story as it is a story about a gunfight. The fictional relationship between Wyatt Earp and Clementine Carter is the real centre of the film. The gunfights and the action are exciting, but it is the developing love between these two which finally makes the film moving. Their relationship is subtle, tentative and unspoken. It is uncertain whether anything will come from it, but Ford leaves the viewer hoping. He turns what could have been a standard romance into something much more powerful.
The acting in My Darling Clementine is generally very good. Henry Fonda plays Wyatt in his quiet authoritative way using minimal gestures and facial expressions to show the character of the man. Cathy Downs as Clementine shows why Wyatt would prefer her to the more gaudy women of the saloons. Her understated performance matches Fonda's. Victor Mature is pretty good as Doc Holliday showing the character's smouldering temper. He even reads part of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech and reads it well. Mature was never a great actor, but he makes his character interesting and complex. Less good is Linda Darnell as dance hall girl Chihuahua. She seems out of her depth in this film. Finally Walter Brennan makes a good villain as Pa Clanton.
The Fox DVD is wonderful. It includes two cuts of the film, the release version and a preview version. This preview version runs about 10 minutes longer than the release version, which was edited by studio head Darryl Zanuck. A well-made documentary illustrates the differences between the two versions showing that the changes involved not merely deleting footage, but also adding music and most importantly slightly changing the ending. The Zanuck cut is still a very fine film, but it is great to have the opportunity to see an earlier version of the film which may be closer to John Ford's original vision. The picture quality of both versions of the film is very good, with only one or two signs of damage. The beautiful black and white photography is clear and sharp and often stunning, especially in the views of Monument Valley. The sound is likewise fine, with clear dialogue and hardly any hiss. In addition the DVD includes an informative and interesting commentary by Scott Eyman and Wyatt Earp III, a trailer and a gallery of stills. John Ford fans should be grateful to Fox for bringing out such a fine DVD of one of his very best films.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ford and Fonda at their Finest, March 14, 2001
By 
Mark Wylie (Spokane, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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"My Darling Clementine" has to rank as one of John Ford's three or four finest films, as well as one of Henry Fonda's finest performances. It is only incidentally about the Gunfight at the OK Corral--rather than attempt a factual retelling of the gunfight, Ford uses the story of the Earps, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons to illustrate the sacrifices that have to be made in order for the West to be civilized.
This theme of sacrifice runs through many of Ford's Westerns--see also "Wagonmaster" and "The Searchers," for example. In order for the malevolent lawlessness symbolized by the Clantons to be driven out, there are some others, not malevolent themselves, who are nevertheless doomed by their inability to adapt to civilization (Doc Holliday). Wyatt represents those who must give up something they love--any hope of a future with Clementine Carter--in order to continue doing things that need doing.
As previous reviewers have noted, Ford's account is a far cry from the historical events of the OK Corral gunfight. His biggest alteration of history is to change the relationship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday from friendship to antagonism that is somewhat softened by mutual respect, and eventually evolves into alliance. The genuine tension between Wyatt and Doc strengthens the film.
The cast is very strong. Henry Fonda's performance as Wyatt is magnificent. Walter Brennan is equally superb as the malevolent Old Man Clanton, while Victor Mature's consumptive Doc Holliday is, if not memorable, very competent. A number of Ford regulars such as Ward Bond, Russell Simpson, and Jane Darwell provide solid support. The awkward slapstick humor of some of Ford's other films is not a big factor in this one, which is another plus.
Ford was the master of filming outdoor pictures in black and white. Several scenes, such as the dance at the church, are visually stunning.
Of the half dozen or more films about the OK Corral gunfight, this is by far the finest, with "Tombstone" a respectable, but distant second. I highly recommend it to all.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark but extraordinary John Ford Western, March 14, 2003
This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
I am a very big fan of John Ford, but of his many great films, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, along with THE SEARCHERS, is my favorite. Many of the elements that help create the film's effect are common to other Ford films: the extraordinary photography (veteran Joseph MacDonald, though Ford's eye was so good that he functioned as a second cinematographer), the sparse, spartan sets, the rituals that individuals wittingly or unwittingly follow in the concourse with one another, the use of music to create especially powerful moments (in this case, the title of the film as well), the themes of individual responsibilty and compassion, and the stellar cast of Ford regulars. But in this film, many of the great moments derive from Ford irregulars, actors who do not feature in many of his other films. Although much maligned as an actor during the course of his career, Victor Mature in his greatest role is magnificent as Doc Holiday. He teams up with another For irregular, Alan Mowbray, in one of the finest moments in the film, when Mowbray, playing a drunken Shakespearean actor, is unable to complete Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy. Mature takes over and movingly completes it. The beauty of the black and white photography has to be seen to be appreciated. In addition to Mature and Mowbray, the cast is magnificently rounded out by Western veteran Walter Brennan, who despite having starred in a host of great Westerns, had not worked in any of Ford's great classics. He stands out as Old Man Clanton, the utterly vicious and crude but oddly principled nemesis of Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral.
As fine as Mature, Mowbray, and Brennan are, what truly holds the film together is Ford semi-regular Henry Fonda, who undertakes one of the greatest performances of his career. It is a remarkable undertaking. Of all the actors of the 1930s and 1940s, Fonda was perhaps the actor most comfortable with silences, and Ford makes maximum use of this by filming scene after scene in which he surrounds Fonda with no dialog at all. The patient and deliberate manner in which Ford and Fonda allow scenes to unfold with a minimum of dialog gives this film a quality unique among films of the era, which tended to be filled with vastly more talking than today's films. Indeed, his attitude towards speech is what sets Ford apart from his only other serious rival for title of the Greatest American Born Director, Howard Hawks. Only Preston Sturges could rival Hawks for the sheer number of words he could pack into a film, while Ford was by contrast quite at ease with long stretches of near or complete silence. Indeed, some of the great scenes in this film are not truly dependent upon speech at all. Look at the long Sunday afternoon dance scene, in which Fonda awkwardly but charmingly courts Kathy Downs. Although there is music and some talk, the scene would have worked just as well in a silent film.
A great movie, this not only one of the finest Westerns ever made, but one of the finest films ever made in America.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of John Ford's best, October 1, 2002
Landscape plays a large role in My Darling Clementine. Without the backdrop of Monument Valley to locate Tomestone it would have been a different film. Not only is it essential to the film but also to the myth of the West. Ford uses it like a genius. As for cinematography, there are shots in this film that have become legendary. Even simple ones like Fonda checking his face in the barber's mirror or kicked back on the porch are framed so beautifully they've become film legend.
This has a terrific cast, from Henry Fonda playing Wyatt Earp to Walter Brennan as the father of the Clanton clan. One of the central themes is the relationship between Doc Holiday (Victor Mature) and Wyatt Earp. Doc is a troubled character haunted by demons of some sort and sick. Brennan is fantastic and plays his role as an evil patriarch to the hilt.
There is a corollary love interest theme that slows the story down a bit, but these moments contain some of the most beautifully shot scenes as well.
This is a wonderful film that shows John Ford at his finest.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine, Pure, and Real, January 10, 2004
By 
E. Dolnack (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Darling Clementine (DVD)
A true film masterpiece in every sense of the word! Henry Fonda, John Ford, this is what movies are all about! They don't make movies this good anymore. They just don't. "My Darling Clementine" is pure. It isn't fake and doesn't make the critical error of ever trying too hard. It doesn't have to fake a thing: the talent is there in droves!
This DVD is a fine piece of work, and about time too. A good sharp, clean picture, in a fullscreen 1.33:1 screen ratio. The sound is fine as well. There's a "pre-release version" on the "B side" of the disk as well, and a good film commentary track.
This film speaks for itself. It's a beautiful movie. One of the all-time greats. If you haven't, you need to see this movie, at least two or three times in your life. You won't regret it. John Ford was a natural. This is one of Henry Fonda's best roles as Wyatt Earp. I enjoyed it immensely and am proud to add it to my permanent DVD collention.
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My Darling Clementine
My Darling Clementine by John Ford (DVD - 2004)
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