My Darling Clementine Blu Ray Review

Relax....I am the law

Wyatt Earp was and is a legendary figure for many. If you know your Western folklore, you most certainly know his place within it. My Darling Clementine begins after Earp became a hero at Dodge City but before he would cement his name in history and take part in the most famous gun battle of the time. In the interim he had to change his occupation and spend time living on the land. After Wyatt Earp’s brother Jesse is murdered while driving cattle across the west, he enters the town of Tombstone and becomes the sheriff. Aided by his two brothers, as his deputies and the tuberculosis suffering alcoholic Doc Holliday he sets out to bring order to its chaos. While in town he has run ins with the Clanton family and its patriarchal head, Old Man Clanton. This meets a head at the most famous gunfight in western history, the gunfight at the OK corral.

It would be right to say that this masterpiece of cinema has had a large catalogue of commentary written, spoken and even filmed about it. This has often focused on John Ford, the films director and cinemas most award film maker. He was very hostile to analysis of his works but has often been critically applauded for his choices of composition, production and mise en scene. Often reviewers have reflected on his socio political ideas, contained in his works. Peter Wollen a noted film critic stated that this film deals with many common place themes that continue to this day in Westerns. That is the movement from nature to civilization of America and in this case, of Earp. In many respects the western as a genre often dealt with transition to and from the wild and in this we have Earp out as a cattle man, stuck in the desert. He then moves into town and the soft hands of a local barber. The barber is disrupted by the bullets of a mad drunk man (Wild uncontrolled nature) and Earp steps in to solve the problem. He becomes the civilizing force in the film and in society he is in. Now wait a minute I hear you scream, we came here for a review and instead have been given a schooling in film theory.

Death and his visitor

I mention the above because it is important in understanding why this release is worth a second look. My Darling Clementine has classic themes and textures that transcend time. It is a hymn to a forgotton world and one that is not still seen with sepia tones. Directly due to the legacy of this work. Take for example how this film tackles the way of life of the west, harsh but communal. People live in close proximity to nature and the wild but live normal lives. Sleep, eat and shave almost every other day. They live their lives as if they are visiting the space, almost waiting for the next stage but wanting to keep modernity here. Acting and the script are the keys to this being so powerful. They underline the worlds moral centres and also its devious core. This core is placed around you by great compositions of space. You have the dark heart of nature reflected in skys. houses and paths but also in the framing of actions. Stances and shoot outs are majestic and this is due in no small part to the amazing lighting and cinematography. The sound design and score are crisply built and greatly enhance the world. Fonda is the gravity of the piece, expelling charm and charisma in bucket loads.

Death march...

Arrow Films have made inroads into some of cinemas greatest films. They have taken some very unloved and uncared for pieces and given them the TLC deserved. This film has had quite a lot of care given to it over its life and so it already had been well preserved. The versions that are on these Blu Rays are the same as the version that exist on an earlier DVD combo from Fox. The picture however is cleaner as it is now a 4K restoration and the commentaries include a new voice and some informed discussion on the film and its many creative touches. They also include the excellent film Frontier Marshal.The booklet that accompanies the set is almost the best thing they have compiled to date and a must have on its own.

 

 

 

  • 4K digital film restoration
  • Commentary on the theatrical version by author Scott Eyman and Earp s grandson, Wyatt Earp III
  • John Ford and Monument Valley – a 2013 documentary on the director s lifelong association with Utah s Monument Valley containing interviews with Peter Cowie (author of John Ford and the American West), John Ford, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart and Martin Scorsese
  • Movie Masterclass – a 1988 episode of the Channel 4 series, devoted to My Darling Clementine and presented by Lindsay Anderson
  • Lost and Gone Forever – a visual essay by Tag Gallagher on the themes that run through My Darling Clementine and the film s relationship with John Ford s other works
  • Stills gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

BLU-RAY DISC 2: MY DARLING CLEMENTINE ( PRE-RELEASE VERSION), FRONTIER MARSHAL AND OTHER WYATT EARP TALES [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE]

  • 2K digital film restoration of the pre-release version of My Darling Clementine
  • What is the Pre-Release Version? – a documentary by Robert Gitt, Senior Film Preservation Officer at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, comparing the two versions of My Darling Clementine
  • High Definition digital film transfer of Frontier Marshal, Allan Dwan s 1939 Wyatt Earp film starring Randolph Scott
  • Two radio plays inspired by Wyatt Earp – a 1947 adaptation of My Darling Clementine starring Henry Fonda as Earp and Richard Conte as Doc Holliday, and a 1949 Hallmark Playhouse production in which Conte played the role of Earp
  • Frontier Marshall Theatrical Trailer

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