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Author Topic: 'Doc' (1971)  (Read 13331 times)
The Firecracker
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2011, 07:35:46 PM »


The final walk to the OK. I wonder how it'll turn out this time?

For whatever reason the above sarcastic comment made me think the movie would depict a "what if" scenario of the Clanton boys winning the fire fight.

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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2011, 06:36:00 PM »

Nope. For that you've got to go to "Spectre of the Gun" (where Captain "Ike Clanton" Kirk and the boys send the Earps back to limbo).

Anyway, Doc is certainly a lousy film. And when the Blu-ray comes out, I'll be first in line to get it.

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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2011, 07:30:14 PM »

Full review. Feel free to skip the angry young fogey rant in the first few paragraphs. Afro

Quote
The early '70s were the heyday of the revisionist Western. Earlier films like Devil's Doorway and The Gunfighter questioned the frontier myth to varying degrees, but it wasn't until the late '60s that the backlash against Manifest Destiny flowered. Westerns inevitably reflect contemporary social mores, and heroic cowboys fighting black-hatted bad guys, shooting Indians and winning the West didn't jive with the counterculture zeitgeist, John Wayne's later vehicles notwithstanding.

This new breed of oaters provided very modern takes on Native Americans (Little Big Man), race relations (Hombre), legendary gunfighters (Dirty Little Billy) and outlaws (The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid). These films also aped Sam Peckinpah's hyperviolence and Sergio Leone's daffy plotting, to little effect. The super-polished look of old-school Hollywood gave way to faux-"authentic" griminess: films like The Culpepper Cattle Co. see looking filthy as an end unto itself.

Inevitably Wyatt Earp, the legendary symbol of law and order, came under fire. John Sturges's flawed but interesting Hour of the Gun (1967) showed that Earp wasn't an angel, but Frank Perry's Doc (1971) depicts him as a greedy, murderous crook. This angle might be worthy of consideration if the film containing it weren't so crummy.

Tubercular gunfighter Doc Holiday (Stacy Keach) rolls into Tombstone, Arizona at the behest of old pal Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin), a two-fisted Marshal with political ambitions. Earp's caught in the middle of a feud with County Sheriff John Behan (Richard McKenzie) and the Clanton-run Cowboys and needs Doc's help to muscle out his rivals. Doc juggles a relationship with Kate Elder (Faye Dunaway), a whore he met on the road to Tombstone and mentors a young gunslinger (Denver John Phillips), making him reconsider his plans. Events come to a head, however, as Wyatt goads the Cowboys into a one-sided showdown at the OK Corral, compelling Doc to take sides.

Doc starts off brilliantly: a bone-tired Doc saunters into a trading post, picking a fight with two saddle-tramps and "winning" Kate in a card game. This scene is beautifully shot and remarkably tense, setting the stage for an interesting Western. Not to worry though, Doc soon abandons this interesting direction in favor of pompous mediocrity.

By making Doc Holiday his protagonist, Perry exorciates Wyatt Earp. The film depicts Earp as a glorified mob boss, knee-deep in vice rackets, politically ambitious and ruling Tombstone with an iron fist. The real Earp had many of these traits, but in depicting the Cowboys as harmless victims and Johnny Behan as "honest" (!) Doc forfeits its claims to realism. In this context, the ludicrous staging of the OK Corral showdown, with the Earp clan mowing down the surrendering Clantons with shotguns, seems perversely appropriate.

Warping history is the least of Doc's problems, however. The movie's focus on Doc's romance with Kate falters due to a strange relationship arc and an unconvincing resolution. Doc's paternal relationship with The Kid builds to a groan-worthy conclusion: by taking part in the OK gundown it's like Doc is (gasp!) killing himself! And that's not to mention Pete Hamil's awful dialogue: don't miss Doc and Kate's heartfelt conversation about flatulence. Sure, the sets are believably rustic and there's plenty of familiar Almerian scenery to admire, but plenty of better Westerns can say the same.

Stacy Keach redeems a lot with his excellent performance, capturing Doc's inner conflict and hopeless resignation. The rest of the cast is weak. Faye Dunaway's vulgar Kate is about as convincing a frontier gal as Candice Bergen in Soldier Blue: her amusing trollop in Little Big Man is much more credible. Harris Yulin's (Scarface) crooked Earp is a one-dimensional punk and Denver John Phillips can't act to save his life.

Ultimately, Doc says more about its era than the real Wyatt Earp. By tearing down a legendary hero and abandoning comprehensible narrative, it epitomizes the shortcomings of '70s Westerns.  5/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/10/doc.html

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« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 07:31:50 PM by Groggy » Logged


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dave jenkins
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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2011, 08:11:52 PM »

If I could save only one paragraph from the above it would be this:
Quote
Doc starts off brilliantly: a bone-tired Doc saunters into a trading post, picking a fight with two saddle-tramps and "winning" Kate in a card game. This scene is beautifully shot and remarkably tense, setting the stage for an interesting Western. Not to worry though, Doc soon abandons this interesting direction in favor of pompous mediocrity.

Sums things up very nicely.

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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2011, 01:44:30 PM »

You did give it a 7/10. I guess your definition of lousy is different than mine which isn't surprising.

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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2011, 02:17:27 PM »

You did give it a 7/10. I guess your definition of lousy is different than mine which isn't surprising.
Well, I recognize that it's a lousy picture BUT I also enjoy watching it and--to use Wordsworth's formula--"recollecting it in tranquility"--and I assign value based on how I feel about a film, not based on some "objective" standard of greatness. Genre pictures can do better with me than pretentious (or even unpretentious) "arthouse" fare, which is why, to cite two examples, I gave Columbiana a 10 but The Tree of Life considerably less.

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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2013, 03:10:41 PM »

Not a Wenders fan, I take it?

Wenders himself is not a fan of his "nice pictures no story" films.

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« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2014, 11:49:00 AM »

I am praying for this to end...

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« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2014, 12:51:23 PM »

Doc starts off brilliantly: a bone-tired Doc saunters into a trading post, picking a fight with two saddle-tramps and "winning" Kate in a card game. This scene is beautifully shot and remarkably tense, setting the stage for an interesting Western. Not to worry though, Doc soon abandons this interesting direction in favor of pompous mediocrity.

Yep. Smiley

Even Yulin, a rather interesting character actor, corrodes his own scenes with psychotic mannerisms.


4/10

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« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2016, 01:26:32 PM »

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_reviews_70/doc_blu-ray.htm

I can't believe I haven't ordered this yet. Well, there's a bunch of better things in my queue to get through first . . .

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