Friday, March 7, 2014


By the time MY DARLING CLEMENTINE came out Henry Fonda had been off the silver screen for nearly four years due to his military service during WWII.  I don't know if he was worried about if he still had it or not, but if he did he worried for nothing because he's still as great as always.

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?!