Connect with us

Movies

My Darling Clementine (1946, Henry Fonda, Victor Mature)

Published

on

John Ford classic My Darling Clementine is, according to the Observer’s Philip French, “the finest movie about Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the OK Corral.”

Henry Fonda plays Earp, a famed lawman who’s given up the game to join his brothers’ cattle-run to California. However, while camped outside frontier town Tombstone, one of the brothers is murdered, and the herd stolen by local villain Old Man Clanton (Walter Brennan) and his boys. Earp immediately accepts the post of town marshal in order to bring his brother’s killers to justice.

At first he thinks the culprit is suave, consumptive, Bostonian blackguard Doc Holliday (Victor Mature), but once Holliday’s innocence has been established, the pair form a strong friendship that survives even when Doc’s girl, Clementine (Cathy Downs), arrives from the east coast and falls for Earp.

When Holliday’s new belle, dance-hall floozie Chihuahua (Linda Darnell) rats on the Clanton gang, Wyatt, brother Morgan (Ward Bond) and Doc head off to the villain’s hideout at the OK Corral. In the ensuing shoot-out, the Clantons are wiped out and Doc is killed. Earp leaves Tombstone but promises to return to Clementine who’s become the town’s school teacher.

John Ford had met the real Wyatt Earp, who talked to him about the actual battle. But the western has always been the primary breeding ground of American mythology and, as ever, the director is not interested in historical fact – as a line in another of Ford’s films goes: “When the legend becomes the fact, print the legend.” So, Doc Holliday was not involved in the real shootout. Nor was there ever a Clementine Carter in Tombstone. But, as the New Statesman said, it is “a story about things lost and gone forever, a film deeply nostalgic for a mythical beginning, an ideal ordered world that never existed.”

My Darling Clementine

Ford’s skill was to paint the myth so well that legend has become fact for most film-goers. As Philip French observed: “My Darling Clementine is a great movie, full of monochrome images that leave an indelible impression on the mind’s eye. It manages to be wholly truthful while being inaccurate in almost every verifiable historical detail.”

USA / 1946

Director: John Ford
Writers: Samuel Engel, Winston Miller (from story by Sam Hellman, based on Stuart N Lake’s book, Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshall)

Cast: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Ward Bond, Cathy Downs, Alan Mowbray, John Ireland, Grant Withers, Roy Roberts, Jane Darwell, Russell Simpson, Francis Ford, J Farrell MacDonald

 

Advertisement












Movies

California Split (Columbia 1974, Elliott Gould, George Segal)

Published

on

By

California Split

California Split is a movie about the adventures of two card players, and it stars two of 70s-era Hollywood’s most prolific male actors. Elliot Gould (M*A*S*H, 1970) plays Charlie Waters, a small-time card player who has the charisma and moxie of someone who’s way better at the tables than he actually is. Alongside him is George Segal (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966) who plays Bill Denny, a magazine writer who moonlights as a casual player. Charlie and Bill meet in a California poker parlour game that turns heated over a dealt card hitting the floor, raising concerns of cheating. Despite this, the game continues, and one of them wins. This leads to the two players getting mugged by one of the game’s sore losers, giving them an experience that’s worth bonding over. The two become fast friends and this starts them off on a poker adventure that will test and reveal their true spirit.

In a 1974 review, Roger Ebert called California Split a “magnificently funny, cynical film”, which is probably the best way to describe the succeeding events following Bill and Charlie’s meet up. Regarded by many to be one of the best poker movies ever made, California Split is a quirky but ultimately realistic and darkly comedic look into the life and mind of card players. Despite this, you don’t really need to know a thing about poker beforehand in order to enjoy the movie. It’s a classic American adventure movie that has inspired countless other road trip movies and casino films.

From start to finish, California Split follows Bill and Charlie through the race tracks, seedy bars, private poker parties, Vegas’ second-rate casinos, treating bruises with hot shaving cream, waking up to massive hangovers, and even another mugging in which their instincts are put to the test. The result is less of a movie with careful exposition, and more of what feels like an inside look into the hilariously nightmarish world of America’s casino scene. The Telegraph calls the film one of Robert Altman’s best out of his extensive catalogue. It is brilliantly pieced together by his signature subtle visual prose, realistically overlapping dialogue, and the bravely understated introductions of his many quirky characters, California Split is one of the 70s’ definite must-see adventures. Such was the film’s realism that PartyPoker state that legendary player Thomas Austin Preston Jr. aka ‘Amarilo Slim’ had a small part. In his time Slim was known as one of the greatest ever poker players, winning 4 WSOP bracelets, and would have been an inspiration for the two main characters.

California Split is definitely a treat not just for card players, but for anyone who likes well-crafted movies about friendship and the makings of the American Dream.

main stars
George Segal, Elliot Gould Ann Prentis, Gwen Welsh, Edward Walsh, Joseph Walsh, Bert Remsen

crew details
Director: Robert Altman
Producer: Joseph Walsh, Robert Altman
Director of Photography: Paul Lohmann
Editor: O. Nicholas Brown, Lou Lombardo
Composer: Phyllis Shotwell
Screenwriters: Joseph Walsh
Production Designer: Leon Ericksen

Video:

Continue Reading

Movies

Raising The Wind (Anglo Amalgamated 1961, Leslie Phillips, Sid James)

Published

on

By

Raising The Wind

Raising The Wind, a winner from the Carry On stable, boasts a cast of familiar British comic actors and a surprisingly sharp screenplay by composer Bruce Montgomery, who wrote the music for many of the Carry On films.

Montgomery’s screenplay sensibly stuck to the successful formula established by the Carry On and Doctor film series, focusing on the comic adventures and misadventures of an assortment of impecunious music students working their way towards finals at a London Academy of Music under peppery conductor James Robertson Justice.

There was little straightforward plot; instead, Montgomery provided plenty of splendid comic situations which were played for all they were worth by director Gerald Thomas and his expert cast. Justice, sensibly making his conductor a variation on his celebrated surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt from the Doctor comedies, “bulldozes his way magnificently through the role,” said Variety, and there was well-deserved praise for accomplished film farceurs Leslie Phillips, Kenneth Williams (notably in a hilarious scene in which his orchestra runs away with him), Liz Fraser, Sidney James, George Woodbrige and Jimmy Thompson.

UK / Anglo Amalgamated – GHW / 91 Minutes / 1961

Writer: Bruce Montgomery / Cinematography: Alan Hume / Music: Bruce Montgomery / Producer: Peter Rogers / Director: Gerald Thomas

Cast: James Robertson Justice, Leslie Phillips, Kenneth Williams, Paul Massie, Eric Barker, Liz Fraser, Jennifer Jayne, Sidney James

Continue Reading

Movies

Town like Alice, A (Rank 1956, Virginia McKenna, Peter Finch)

Published

on

By

A Town Like Alice

Nevil Shute’s novel A Town like Alice, from which this film was made, was based to a degree on fact – after the fall of Malaya to the Japanese during the war, European families were split, the men to labour camps, the women and children supposedly to other camps but these were over populated and they spent months on the road, ill-fed and sick, suffering deaths along their tortuous ordeal.

Virginia McKenna plays Jean Paget, who helps her fellow marchers as best she can. She meets Joe Harman, an Australian PoW on transport duties and a spark ignites between the two. But he is brutally punished by the Japanese after stealing a chicken for her and she thinks she’ll never see him again. When their lone guard dies, the women settle down in a small village and the war’s end brings repatriation. Then Jean gets a letter from Alice Springs, Australia…

The film, which saw the two leads win BAFTAs, also saw them at the height of their popularity and the film was a domestic triumph here and in Australia. Full of emotion and drama, Lee never allows the historical sweep to overwhelm the love story at the heart of the film and despite being shot entirely in Britain (doubles were used for McKenna and Finch for scenery shots in Malaya and Australia), it remains faithful to the story from one of Australia’s favourite writers.

UK – Australia / Rank – Vic Films / 117 minutes / 1956 made in black and white

Writers: W P Lipscombe, Richard Mason, based on Nevil Shute’s novel / Music: Matyas Seiber / Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth / Producer: Joseph Janni / Director: Jack Lee

Cast: Virginia McKenna, Peter Finch, Marie Lohr, Rennee Hosuton, Jean Anderson

US title: The Rape of Malaya

Continue Reading

More to View