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85 My Darling Clementine 1946 
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Post 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
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My Darling Clementine is about the historical Gunfight at the O.K. Corral [wikipedia.org] (in the town of Tombstone) involving, among others, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. It is, however, not a faithful adaptation of that event despite the fact that John Ford met Wyatt Earp and discussed the actual gunfight with him.

Henry Fonda is in fine form as Wyatt Earp. As far as Westerns go, I think he's been better only in The Ox-Bow Incident. Fonda plays a slightly more "modern" Western hero: less macho and more of a kind gentleman.

The best scenes in this film are those with both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. It's interesting to see how their curious relationship unfolds, especially if you're unaware of the eventual outcome. John Ford's black and white photography of Monument Valley also deserves mention because it is gorgeous.

What worked least for me were the romantic scenes of the lead actors with their respective women (the titular Clementine and Chihuahua). It's not that these scenes are bad, I just felt they don't fit nicely with the rest of the movie.

Prior to viewing this movie I had assumed that the song Oh My Darling, Clementine originated here. That is not true. The song is believed to be around since 1884.

Overall, I'd say this is one of the better examples of the Western genre. 8/10.


Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:03 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
I disagree. I find it rather slow, with an almost complete lack of any narrative focus. It's 80 minutes of local color in Arizona and then a indifferently-staged shootout. Moreover, it doesn't pursue the themes of justice that concern all of the best westerns (with the possible exception of Leone's).

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Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:37 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
JamesKunz wrote:
I disagree. I find it rather slow, with an almost complete lack of any narrative focus. It's 80 minutes of local color in Arizona and then a indifferently-staged shootout. Moreover, it doesn't pursue the themes of justice that concern all of the best westerns (with the possible exception of Leone's).


Agree or disagree, I'm just glad someone commented. I follow, but don't share your opinion. Care to offer any western counter-recommendations for people who don't like this one?


Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:29 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
I would love to. Now that I've made my way back after a month. Sorry about that. Forgot to click "email me if someone posts."

In any event...

Westerns are as much about justice as pornographic films are about sex. That may seem like hyperbole, but if you've watched a lot you'll understand. The gunfights, the dust, the costumes, the horses are all trappings. Look at Blazing Saddles: that's a frigging farce and even it's about law and order. The best westerns, to me, are the ones that do the right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, law and order theme well AND are interesting in their own right. My Darling Clementine neither pursued the justice angle well (though, of course, it doesn't neglect it) nor was interesting. To counter it I offer:

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943): The nature of the lynch mob. Only 75 minutes, this B picture got a deserved Best Picture nomination (in a weak year) for fully exploring some depressing themes. A bit preachy at the end, but very good

The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966): One of the greatest (arguably THE greatest) adventure films ever made, and guaranteed not to bore you, it has colorful characters, amazing vistas (Spain doubles very nicely for the Old West) and time for some intriguing right vs. wrong commentary: the film labels three characters "good" "bad" and "ugly" and then spends 2 and a half hours tweaking and twisting those monikers

The Wild Bunch (1969): From an early scene of children torturing insects, you know this film isn't going to be cheery. But it is a wild ride through the end of the old west (an automobile even makes an appearance) with one of the best shootouts ever filmed and inspired direction by Peckinpah.

Unforgiven (1992): One of the most anti-violent films I've ever seen, this bleak Western by a mature Eastwood won a deserved Best Picture and Director. It wanders a little but is well worth watching.

The Proposition (2005): An Australian Western which imagines the outback as a lawless frontier similar to the American Old West (as well it probably was), this extremely violent picture--all of these films save the first are incredibly violent, as befits the west--proves America isn't the only country that can make a western well.

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Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:24 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
JamesKunz wrote:
I would love to. Now that I've made my way back after a month. Sorry about that. Forgot to click "email me if someone posts."

In any event...

Westerns are as much about justice as pornographic films are about sex. That may seem like hyperbole, but if you've watched a lot you'll understand. The gunfights, the dust, the costumes, the horses are all trappings. Look at Blazing Saddles: that's a frigging farce and even it's about law and order. The best westerns, to me, are the ones that do the right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, law and order theme well AND are interesting in their own right. My Darling Clementine neither pursued the justice angle well (though, of course, it doesn't neglect it) nor was interesting. To counter it I offer:

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943): The nature of the lynch mob. Only 75 minutes, this B picture got a deserved Best Picture nomination (in a weak year) for fully exploring some depressing themes. A bit preachy at the end, but very good

The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966): One of the greatest (arguably THE greatest) adventure films ever made, and guaranteed not to bore you, it has colorful characters, amazing vistas (Spain doubles very nicely for the Old West) and time for some intriguing right vs. wrong commentary: the film labels three characters "good" "bad" and "ugly" and then spends 2 and a half hours tweaking and twisting those monikers

The Wild Bunch (1969): From an early scene of children torturing insects, you know this film isn't going to be cheery. But it is a wild ride through the end of the old west (an automobile even makes an appearance) with one of the best shootouts ever filmed and inspired direction by Peckinpah.

Unforgiven (1992): One of the most anti-violent films I've ever seen, this bleak Western by a mature Eastwood won a deserved Best Picture and Director. It wanders a little but is well worth watching.

The Proposition (2005): An Australian Western which imagines the outback as a lawless frontier similar to the American Old West (as well it probably was), this extremely violent picture--all of these films save the first are incredibly violent, as befits the west--proves America isn't the only country that can make a western well.


I've actually only seen the first 40 minutes of My Darling Clementine (which I watched last night, coincidentally) so why am I posting in this thread? To get in on the action of course. I love Westerns, and I'm guaranteed to jump into just about any discussion of them.

JamesKunz and I might not agree on The Searchers (although I admittedly think it is overrated), but I certainly commend the man on his overall taste within the genre. The only thing I remotely disagree with is The Proposition, which I found almost good, but not in the same league as the others he mentioned. However, knowing Ed as well as I do (which isn't very well at all), I'd venture to guess he's seen all of these as well.

I'll add a few more staples to the recommendation platter, and hopefully, a few off the beaten path Westerns that you may or may not enjoy:

Any Leone Western: Even if A Fistful of Dollars is a remake of Yojimbo, that entire trilogy is essential viewing. Once Upon a Time in the West is his true masterpiece in my eyes, and I'm not sure 5 better Westerns have ever been made. (Haven't seen Duck, You Sucker)

Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is his true masterpiece to me. I think The Searchers gets all the praise, but Liberty Valance is a better overall picture.

Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. I watched this recently for the first time and really enjoyed it. It's far from perfect, but it's contemplative, sad, atypical, and extremely interesting. Plus, Altman's direction is superb.

Johnny Guitar is probably the best example of a great, offbeat Western. It's a female rich Western dominated by Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge. Sterling Hayden plays the title role, but he fades into the background as the film becomes much more about the women. It's really fascinating stuff (and rumored to be an allegory for McCarthyism).

As far as Westerns having to deal with the law and justice, I don't think that is necessarily the case. Stagecoach for instance is considered a great Western and that is much more a criticism of society than it is a picture dealing with justice. In a twisted way Unforgiven could be seen as dealing with the theme of justice, but that's much more of an anti-Western to me than a parable about the nature of justice (which The Ox-Bow Incident is). I certainly think justice and the law are common themes within the genre, but I'd be hesitant to say a great Western absolutely has to deal with that particular theme. A lot of great Westerns also deal with civilization coming into the West.

What about you, Ed? Any recommendations for us?


Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:40 am
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
It's my great shame in life that I don't see what all the fuss is about with Once Upon a Time in the West. The consensus is that it's a great film, and I wish I could see it but I can't. I've seen 5 films by Leone (the Dollars trilogy, OUaTitW and Duck You Sucker) and it's my least favorite. For some reason it didn't work for me. While the other ones, especially The Good the Bad and the Ugly (in my all time Top 3) zip by despite their running length, I found Once Upon a Time slow-moving and occasionally dull. Ahhhhh I hate myself!

Other Westerns...

High Noon is solid but a bit overrated, especially since people insist its a parable for McCarthyism when in fact I don't think it is.

Dances With Wolves doesn't actually feel like a true Western to me but perhaps I'm nitpicking. It's long and Costner is Costner, but it has many moving scenes and a great score.

3:10 to Yuma is one of the rare remakes I find better than the original. Mangold's version takes better actors (Glenn Ford is fine in the original but Van Heflin is less than good) and fleshes out the original story. Plus a better ending, in my opinion. Both are good films, but the remake is outstanding

The Magnificent Seven is a leaden schlock-fest that takes The Seven Samurai and takes out everything that made the latter film notable

How the West Was Won was a vehicle for Cinerama and doesn't work very well on its own terms.

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Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:24 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
PeachyPete wrote:
What about you, Ed? Any recommendations for us?


Hola Pete, how'd you like those 40 minutes of My Darling Clementine? (I'm trying to keep this loosely ontopic).

Anyway, nice recommendations by both you gentlemen so far and...Duck, you Sucker is a worth a look.

As for my recommendations...the nice thing about storing your vote history at imdb is the ability to sort it by genre and rating. Here's a list of the 50 Westerns I've seen. That the list numbers 50 is coincidental. In fact, some of those aren't Westerns at all. It's sorted according to rating, so you'll get a (rough) idea of my favourites in the genre:

http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=8893601&g=Western&s=uservote&s=reverse_uservote

Oh, and my favourite of all is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Thus concludes the most disjointed post on these boards.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:25 pm
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
JamesKunz wrote:
It's my great shame in life that I don't see what all the fuss is about with Once Upon a Time in the West. The consensus is that it's a great film, and I wish I could see it but I can't. I've seen 5 films by Leone (the Dollars trilogy, OUaTitW and Duck You Sucker) and it's my least favorite. For some reason it didn't work for me. While the other ones, especially The Good the Bad and the Ugly (in my all time Top 3) zip by despite their running length, I found Once Upon a Time slow-moving and occasionally dull. Ahhhhh I hate myself!


That's completely fair and pretty much how I felt after my first viewing. I decided about a year ago to give it another shot and fell completely in love with it. I've watched it another time since, and the more I watch it the more the subtlety and subtext sort of wash over me. It's a very layered film, and it's tough for me to imagine anyone picking up on everything in one viewing (at least, I definitely couldn't). The plot moves at the speed of molasses going uphill in January, but it's purposeful (which doesn't mean you have to like it, but my personal view allows me to see that as intentional and not a fault). Plus, I'm a sucker for anything with Jason Robards (speaking of which, I'll be checking out Duck, You Sucker pretty soon). Along with TG, TB, & TU, it is in my top 5 Westerns - along with Unforgiven, The Wild Bunch, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

ed_metal_head wrote:
Hola Pete, how'd you like those 40 minutes of My Darling Clementine? (I'm trying to keep this loosely ontopic).


We don't need to keep this on topic. We're tucked away in the quietest corner of this forum where no one will even notice if we talk about the most outlandish of topics. That said, I was enjoying it. I got to when Wyatt went looking for the drunk actor to continue the show. It seems like it deals quite a bit with the themes JamesKunz and I have been discussing (law and order/bringing civilization to the frontier), and I'm pretty excited to finish it up. Hopefully I get to it over the weekend (although, I'll probably start it over).

ed_metal_head wrote:
As for my recommendations...the nice thing about storing your vote history at imdb is the ability to sort it by genre and rating. Here's a list of the 50 Westerns I've seen. That the list numbers 50 is coincidental. In fact, some of those aren't Westerns at all. It's sorted according to rating, so you'll get a (rough) idea of my favourites in the genre:

http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=8893601&g=Western&s=uservote&s=reverse_uservote

Oh, and my favourite of all is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Thus concludes the most disjointed post on these boards.


Solid list. Seeing Wild, Wild West anywhere makes me laugh. Same with Young Guns - a perfect representation of 80s cheese...not in a good way. It's almost so bad it's good, but not quite.

What did you think of Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid? I've been reading a bit about Peckinpah lately, and I've watched a few documentaries. Some people refer to that as his last "great masterpiece" (Billy Bob Thorton for one), which is often hyperbole, but I'm excited about it nonetheless. I never knew Dylan wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for that film until about 3 weeks ago. Knowing what I know about Peckinpah's longing for the old days of the West, that song seems to sum him up quite well (also, poetically it reminds me a bit of No Country For Old Men). Honestly, seeing that scene in context is one of the main reasons I'm excited about the film. I have it up next in my Netflix que, so I'm curious as to why it's a 6 on your list. I've heard it's kind of slow moving.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:00 pm
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
PeachyPete wrote:
What did you think of Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid? I've been reading a bit about Peckinpah lately, and I've watched a few documentaries. Some people refer to that as his last "great masterpiece" (Billy Bob Thorton for one), which is often hyperbole, but I'm excited about it nonetheless. I never knew Dylan wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for that film until about 3 weeks ago. Knowing what I know about Peckinpah's longing for the old days of the West, that song seems to sum him up quite well (also, poetically it reminds me a bit of No Country For Old Men). Honestly, seeing that scene in context is one of the main reasons I'm excited about the film. I have it up next in my Netflix que, so I'm curious as to why it's a 6 on your list. I've heard it's kind of slow moving.


The Wild Bunch aside, I'm not a great fan of Peckinpah, as you may or may not remember. I've found redeeming qualities in each of his films, but they rarely strike me as great.

Same thing for Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. The narrative thread connecting various scenes is pretty loose and while I like Dylan's songs they didn't seem to fit the film. At least not for me. Dylan's character is kind of weird too. Mind you, I like weird, but he felt out of place. That said, you may very well enjoy it. The "longing" feeling you describe is particularly strong in this one. Also, I've seen most of Peckinpah's output on TCM rather than DVD. Not normally a problem, but the TCM over here doesn't show movies in widescreen, so Pan & Scan may have influenced my ratings.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:19 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
I also was not a fan of Once Upon A West when I first saw it(in high school or college I think)

Now I almost consider it my favorite western(Good, the Bad, & the Ugly has held that for a long time, its probably one of my 5 favorite films) it works even better on the big screen.

I think anyone with an interest in westerns needs to see these:

Any Anthony Mann/James Stewart western(preferrably all of them: Winchester 73, Man From Laramie & the Naked Spur are the standouts)

The Gunfighter(1950) with Gregory Peck. Fans of Unforgiven should like this.

The Professionals(1966) Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan are hired to rescue Claudia Cardinale from a Mexican revolutionary. Fans of the Wild Bunch should like this, & its a lot more fun(maybe the most fun western I've seen actually)

Red River(1948) should probably be ranked higher on the great westerns lists I've seen. If John Ford had made it I bet it would.

ed, does imdb not allow you to vote '10's' for any title? I started voting there recently & none of the movies I gave a 10 to show up in my movies list. But when I change it to a 9, it does. Noticed 9 is the highest number in your list as well.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:51 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
ed_metal_head wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
What did you think of Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid? I've been reading a bit about Peckinpah lately, and I've watched a few documentaries. Some people refer to that as his last "great masterpiece" (Billy Bob Thorton for one), which is often hyperbole, but I'm excited about it nonetheless. I never knew Dylan wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for that film until about 3 weeks ago. Knowing what I know about Peckinpah's longing for the old days of the West, that song seems to sum him up quite well (also, poetically it reminds me a bit of No Country For Old Men). Honestly, seeing that scene in context is one of the main reasons I'm excited about the film. I have it up next in my Netflix que, so I'm curious as to why it's a 6 on your list. I've heard it's kind of slow moving.


The Wild Bunch aside, I'm not a great fan of Peckinpah, as you may or may not remember. I've found redeeming qualities in each of his films, but they rarely strike me as great.

Same thing for Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. The narrative thread connecting various scenes is pretty loose and while I like Dylan's songs they didn't seem to fit the film. At least not for me. Dylan's character is kind of weird too. Mind you, I like weird, but he felt out of place. That said, you may very well enjoy it. The "longing" feeling you describe is particularly strong in this one. Also, I've seen most of Peckinpah's output on TCM rather than DVD. Not normally a problem, but the TCM over here doesn't show movies in widescreen, so Pan & Scan may have influenced my ratings.


Ahhh, yes. I do remember that very thread, however, I was unaware that the immortal ed_metal_head had started it. Since posting in that thread I did see The Ballad of Cable Hogue, which I thought was enjoyable, if completely unspectacular. Your comments about it being heavy handed are very accurate. But it's got that damned Jason Robards in the lead, so I'm inclined to like it. Junior Bonner is probably the next Peckinpah I'll see - I recently bought a McQueen double feature set with that and The Great Escape for $5. I couldn't pass up a Peckinpah/McQueen film along with a film I love for $5.

So, uhhh, My Darling Clementine has Henry Fonda in it. So, yeah. I like him.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:15 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
calvero wrote:
ed, does imdb not allow you to vote '10's' for any title? I started voting there recently & none of the movies I gave a 10 to show up in my movies list. But when I change it to a 9, it does. Noticed 9 is the highest number in your list as well.


I've long maintained it would be wise for IMDB to exclude 10s and 1s in its rating system in order to get rid of the people who don't understand that the majority of films they see fall in the 4-7 range. Maybe they thought the same way I did?

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Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:59 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
calvero wrote:
Red River(1948) should probably be ranked higher on the great westerns lists I've seen. If John Ford had made it I bet it would.

ed, does imdb not allow you to vote '10's' for any title? I started voting there recently & none of the movies I gave a 10 to show up in my movies list. But when I change it to a 9, it does. Noticed 9 is the highest number in your list as well.


Nope, I can vote 10 without problem, it's just that I haven't given any 10 to a Western...yet. Try sending the folks at imdb an email. I think there's a message board for posting problems too.

Red River is an excellent recommendation. It's so exciting that it's part Western, part action movie.

PeachyPete wrote:
Ahhh, yes. I do remember that very thread, however, I was unaware that the immortal ed_metal_head had started it. Since posting in that thread I did see The Ballad of Cable Hogue, which I thought was enjoyable, if completely unspectacular. Your comments about it being heavy handed are very accurate. But it's got that damned Jason Robards in the lead, so I'm inclined to like it.


I specifically disliked the scene where Cable gets hit by the car. I prefer my imagery to be a bit more subtle.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:36 pm
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
ed_metal_head wrote:
I specifically disliked the scene where Cable gets hit by the car. I prefer my imagery to be a bit more subtle.


Yeah, he loves using cars as symbolism. He did the same shit in The WIld Bunch, but it was a tiny bit more subtle. I actually thought it worked quite well in that film. In Cable? I mean, could it possibly be any more heavy handed?

I just watched Hang Em High, an Eastwood vehicle about justice. The first 8-10 minutes are pretty much a condensed version of The Ox-Bow Incident, with Eastwood as the victim. It's a parable about justice's place in the frontier and how strictly its rules should be enforced. I enjoyed it, even if the ending left a bit to be desired and the music had a way too many "Dun DUN!" moments. I'd give it a solid 3/4, and I guess this should be in a different thread, so I'll post it there too. Anyone seen this one?


Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:52 pm
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
Since this has turned into a general discussion of Westerns, I'd like to chip in with two recommendations of Italo Westerns. Usually, if people refer to Italo Westerns all they have in mind are Sergio Leone's films. Of course, they are the pinnacle of this subgenre, but amongst all the crappy exploitation flicks, the follwoing two are worth checking out.

Django (by Sergio Corbucci with Franco Nero) was a very controversial (cult) film in early 70ies Europe due to its ultra-violence. 'Django' actually became a general moniker comparable to how people would refer to a violent chauvinist (in the true sense of the word) as a 'Rambo' in the 80ies. You may know the image of Django pulling a coffin behind him (I won't reveal the contents of said coffin because that's a spoiler). The most infamous scene concerns the cutting off of an ear, which makes Mr. Brown's antics in Reservoir Dogs look quite harmless. Watch out that you get the original Django - there are several Spaghetti Westerns which use the title and are not related at all.

The Plot: An extremely muddy frontier town - consisting primarily of a brothel - is terrorised by some Ku-Klux Clan-type baddies, who shoot Mexican peasants for sport. Enter the loner Django and his trusted coffin, who won't be intimidated by no one.

- My Name is Nobody(with Henry Fonda and Terence Hill): This is a sort of comedy Western and parody of a typical Italo Western. Allegedly, Sergio Leone had his hand in the filming process. The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone is fairly well-known. Terence Hill became a star in Europe in a comedy double act with Bud Spencer.

The plot: Henry Fonda plays an old-time gunslinger in the last days of the Old West and he intends to retire. This is made more complicated by the quirky Nobody (Terence Hill), who idolises Fonda's character and thinks he should retire in a blaze of glory, taking out the largest and most dangerous gang around town.


Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:09 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
I saw Hang 'Em High last year. Pretty much agreed with you. It works better as an exploration of justice than as a piece of entertainment, when the best westerns are of course able to do both well. I also found it a tad overlong: I didn't think it had enough story to fill its running length. A fairly unremarkable Western that probably wouldn't be remembered at all were it not for Clint Eastwood.

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Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:10 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
I liked Hang em High for the same reason Pete mentioned: the start is a lot like The Ox-Bow Incident. I like the idea that a similar premise can lead to two such different movies.

Unke wrote:
My Name is Nobody(with Henry Fonda and Terence Hill): This is a sort of comedy Western and parody of a typical Italo Western. Allegedly, Sergio Leone had his hand in the filming process. The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone is fairly well-known. Terence Hill became a star in Europe in a comedy double act with Bud Spencer.

The plot: Henry Fonda plays an old-time gunslinger in the last days of the Old West and he intends to retire. This is made more complicated by the quirky Nobody (Terence Hill), who idolises Fonda's character and thinks he should retire in a blaze of glory, taking out the largest and most dangerous gang around town.


At some point in my youth I must have seen half of Spencer and Hill's output, but unfortunately I can't remember anything. The Western channel currently has God Forgives, I Don't in rotation and I'm considering it. Anyone see this?


Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:59 am
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
So I finally got this watched Saturday night. I very much enjoyed it, although as with another of Ford's many influential films, Stagecoach, I'd say this is remembered more for it's influence than it is for it's quality. Don't get me wrong, I think it's an excellent film, and certainly worthy of watching, but I wouldn't put it anywhere close to the 85th best film ever.

I guess I feel a combination of what James and Ed have said. The contrast between Wyatt and Doc is pulled off exceptionally well. It's definitely the best part of the film. As Wyatt moves from an uncivilized man to a civilized one, Doc is going in the opposite direction. They meet at the crucial turning point in each of their lives, and that's the key to the film. That's just an endlessly fascinating concept to me.

As ed said, the romance scenes don't work particularly well. It's obviously more of a civilized/uncivilized contrast between the 2 women and the men they want, but it just isn't all that interesting. Those relationships should be kept more in the background and used to flesh out the characters of Wyatt and Doc, instead of bringing them to the forefront of the movie. The film does a decent job of using the women to develop the men, I just don't like the talks about love and marriage. I don't think they really have a place in the film. The women are basically just a cog in the overall metaphor that too much screen time.

I can see James' point about the film having a lack of narrative focus. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree to be honest. The story itself is very simple. Wyatt's brother is killed and he wants to avenge his death. I think the Hamlet "To be, or not to be" speech fits very well in the film, since that is essentially the plot of that play (except it's Hamlet's father). The film shows how Wyatt goes about getting this revenge, and how it ultimately changes him as a man. This is much more of a character study than it is a shoot em up/action Western. In that sense, I loved it. However, since the plot is so simple, the film does amount to a lot of local color (as James put it) in Tombstone. Not much really happens, and the shootout feels more obligatory than necessary. I know it has to end that way (since it did in real life), but the film doesn't really build towards it, and the villains are more or less caricatures.

Criticisms aside, I still really liked, and almost loved, the movie. Henry Fonda is just plain awesome in Westerns. Give me him over John Wayne any day of the week. I'd give it a 3.5/4.


Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:18 pm
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Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
Just rewatched this. Think its pretty great, maybe Ford's best film. not really a big fan of his - seen around 20 of his films & they almost all have pacing issues, odd(& unfunny) comic relief stuf, etc.

This is a lean 97 minutes, every scene has a purpose(& its beautifully composed)
Some really classic scenes here: the barber shop, the poker game, Walter Brennan whipping his sons - "when you pull a gun, kill a man!"

Great cast, lots of familar character actors: Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Ward Bond, John Ireland, the lovely Linda Darnell(though her hairstyle was distracting)

These are the other Ford films on the list:
The Searchers
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Stagecoach
Grapes of Wrath
Quiet Man
How Green Was My Valley
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
They Were Expendable
Young Mr. Lincoln
Wagon Master
Seven Women
The Informer
The Sun Shines Bright
Rio Grande
Tobacco Road
The Wings of Eagles
Fort Apace


Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:52 pm
Profile
Post Re: 85 My Darling Clementine 1946
calvero wrote:
Just rewatched this. Think its pretty great, maybe Ford's best film. not really a big fan of his - seen around 20 of his films & they almost all have pacing issues, odd(& unfunny) comic relief stuf, etc.

This is a lean 97 minutes, every scene has a purpose(& its beautifully composed)
Some really classic scenes here: the barber shop, the poker game, Walter Brennan whipping his sons - "when you pull a gun, kill a man!"

Great cast, lots of familar character actors: Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Ward Bond, John Ireland, the lovely Linda Darnell(though her hairstyle was distracting)

These are the other Ford films on the list:
The Searchers
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Stagecoach
Grapes of Wrath
Quiet Man
How Green Was My Valley
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
They Were Expendable
Young Mr. Lincoln
Wagon Master
Seven Women
The Informer
The Sun Shines Bright
Rio Grande
Tobacco Road
The Wings of Eagles
Fort Apace


You know, this film has really stuck with me. I watched it almost a month ago, but I still find myself thinking about it quite a bit. I actually rewatched it about a week or two later and enjoyed it even more. Glad you posted here, calvero, because I have a bit more to add.

I think the best part of the film is the way Ford is able to convey the theme of civilization coming to the West. Earlier I said the best part was the Earp-Holliday relationship, but that's really just another way Ford hashes out this theme (more on that in a bit). It's everywhere in the film. We have symbols of a growing sense of community and civilization in Tombstone that comes from the building of a school and church during the film's running time. Clementine herself is a symbol of the civilized East that literally comes to the West. Contrast this with the state of Tombstone when the Earp family first enters (summed up by Wyatt: “What kind of town is this anyway? Excuse me ma’am. A man can’t get a shave without gettin’ his head blowed off.”). Throughout the film the town gradually becomes more and more civilized, but it's subtle and never directly referenced.

Ford also uses Wyatt's character to parallel the change the town is going through. When he first enters Tombstone he's a scruffy cowpoke who is hardly an articulate man (see the first scene in the barber shop where all he really says is, "shave."). As the town becomes civilized so does Wyatt, for various reasons (being a victim of lawlessness, Clementine, taking the job as marshal).

I'd say the #1 reason why Wyatt undergoes such a large amount of change is because of Doc. As I said earlier, Doc and Wyatt are going in opposite directions, and meet at each's turning point. They are something like a foil to one another, or maybe even kindred spirits. Even the women in the film (Clementine & Chihuahua) serve to represent each side of civilization and to further bring on the theme. It's easy to see why the men respect each other and it's equally as easy to visualize one in the other's position had the circumstances been a little different.

The manner in which Ford is able to so tightly interweave these stories makes, I think, for a pretty complex film. Like calvero said, the film is lean with no wasted scenes. After another viewing, I would have to say I strongly disagree with the notion that it has a lack of narrative focus. While it does amount to a lot of local color, I'd argue that that is the point. Ford wants us to get to know and learn about the town of Tombstone, otherwise his civilization theme wouldn't really amount to much.

I'd say this is my second favorite Ford film (behind Liberty Valance), and it might be his best directorial effort. So yeah, I pretty much love this now, and would probably include it in my personal Top 100, if such a thing existed.


Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:33 pm
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