Tuesday, 7 June 2011
My Darling Clementine 
Though the likes of Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah et al are revered for their Westerns, when it comes to one name vis-à-vis this quintessential American genre, the choice is usually very simple – John Ford. And his My Darling Clementine, along with his The Searchers, Stagecoach and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, rank among the greatest Westerns ever made. One of the many retellings of the Wyatt Earp legend that eventually led to the legendary shootout at OK Corral, the film had Henry Fonda playing the role of the iconic former lawman-turned-cattleman. Upon reaching a shanty town called Tombstone, his cattle are stolen and his youngest brother is murdered. He quietly vows to avenge, and takes the job of Marshall to take the notorious, smooth-talking Old Man Clanton and his sons down – one way or the other. The film is however not just about the feud, as it was enriched through the inclusion of some fine characters, not the least of which being a fatalist, self-destructive, Shakespeare-quoting loner called Doc Holiday, and the two women in his life – the hot headed beaut Chihuahua and the beautiful lady from his past, Clementine (who Earl starts developing a soft corner for). The film opens with the soulful ballad “Oh My Darlin’ Clementine”, and maintains a sense of poeticism and light-heartedness throughout its crisp length, despite the harsh, rugged and unforgiving terrain where the story is set. Lovingly paced, filled with well-delineated characters and great off-the-cuff deadpan humour, this gorgeously photographed film on how the West was won, remains one of the great American masterpieces.
Director: John Ford
Genre: Western/Traditional Western