My Darling Clementine
Henry Fonda, Cathy Downs, Victor Mature, Walter Brennan,
“John Ford’s first film after his World War II service has been rightly called ‘the perfect example of the classic Western’ (Alan Lovell, The Western). The tale of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone was already familiar from at least five previous sound films when Ford cast a restrained Henry Fonda in the title role and a brooding Victor Mature as Doc Holliday. Darker than any previous version, Ford’s Western battles film noir for the nation’s soul. The O.K. Corral gunfight was paralleled by Ford’s behind-the-scenes fights with producer Darryl Zanuck, whose recutting removed much of Ford’s usual roughhouse comedy and left a death-haunted, visually stunning solemnity. My Darling Clementine survives in two versions: the release version from November 1946 and this version—a preliminary cut screened several months earlier for a preview audience (and restored by UCLA). Although it’s not a ‘director’s cut,’ it’s closer to Ford’s intentions, is superior in several small ways, and runs an additional six minutes” (Scott Simmon). Wyatt and Clementine’s “dance is the turning point of the movie, and marks the end of the Old West. There are still shots to be fired, but civilization has arrived” (Roger Ebert).