Friday, March 7, 2014
The story, while not even close to being historically accurate, is about Wyatt Earp (Fonda) and his three brothers moving some cattle through Arizona. When they get close to Tombstone a man (Walter Brennan as the head of the infamous Clanton clan) offers to buy the cattle for a dirt cheap price. Fonda turns him down. Later that night Fonda and two of his brothers go into Tombstone for a shave and a bath while leaving the fourth brother to watch the herd. Things happen and when they get back to camp the cattle is gone and the brother is dead. Fonda swears to avenge his brother and accepts the job as sheriff of Tombstone.
Tombstone is a wide-open town full of bars and drunks who love nothing more than gettin' their blast on. One of the most deadly gunfighters is a power-drinker by the name of Doc Holliday (Victor Mature). Holliday is doted on by feisty dancehall girl Linda Darnell and things get even more feisty when Holliday's ex-fiancee shows up looking for him. And Fonda though he had his hands full with the Clanton boys!
John Ford might rightfully be remembered for his pioneering Western films, but if you look at his filmography in the 20 years leading up to MY DARLING CLEMENTINE he'd only made two Western films. One of those being STAGECOACH seven years earlier. What does that mean? I don't know, probably nothing, I just thought it was interesting.
Great cast, beautiful photography, Ward Bond snorting like a horse at Linda Darnell, highly fictionalized (and highly entertaining) story and best of all: seeing Walter Brennan play a bad guy. How awesome is that?!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
As far as old revenge thrillers go THE LONG MEMORY is just alright. After 12 years you would hope that Davidson would either be completely insane or very calculating in his quest for revenge, but no this guy's clueless. Instead of kicking ass he spends most of his time standing around looking confused or moping around looking sad. Neither one is exciting for the viewer to watch. Bland story, boring characters, nice photography and lighting, very low violence, yawn creating pace. I didn't dislike TLM, but other than the British setting/actors there wasn't much to hold my attention.
You'd be better off watching something like 1948's ACT OF VIOLENCE.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
It's Miles who nurses Stewart back to health. She even gets him a job washing dishes, since there's no need for a lawyer. As things progress and the locals faces off against the large ranchers in a fight of statehood vs. territorial control by the ranchers, Stewart is obsessed with seeing Valance face the justice of the Law. At the same time Valance and his gang continues to terrorize the local population and Wayne sees that his secret love for Miles is in danger of being crushed by her admiration of Stewart.
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE isn't your standard western with the wide shots of the beautiful desert vistas, cattle drives and everybody riding horses non-stop. Most of the action takes place indoors with people talking. Now whether that was was done by choice or lack of financing I don't know, but it works thanks to the strong script and the fact that TMWSLV has pound-for-pound one of the most impressive casts ever! It's amazing! There's one scene (the steak on the floor scene) where you have John Wayne, Vera Miles, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Strother Martin, Woody Strode, Jeanette Nolan, Lee Van Cleef and John Qualen all in one area together! Not to mention Andy Devine ducking out the back door. That's mind-blowing.
Great story, amazing cast, Strother Martin giggling, Montie Montana's horse drinking out of a water pitcher, tons of familiar faces (including Denver Pyle, Willis Bouchey, Robert F. Simon, Carleton Young, Ted Mapes, Jack Pennick and more), good pace, costume design by Edith Head, John Carradine monologuing and one of my favorite Edmond O'Brien performances ever. I have no idea why this film only received one(!!!) Oscar nomination. Highly recommended.