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Author Topic: Gunfight At The Ok Corral (1957)  (Read 8047 times)
cigar joe
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« on: December 10, 2006, 06:56:09 AM »

Watched this film the other day Dir. by John Sturges, its focus was the events leading up to the OK Corral, staring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, John Ireland, with love interests Joan Van Fleet and Rhonda Fleming.

Miscasting is the opperative word for this film.

First off Lancaster (minus the WE trademark moustache) is in my opinion misscast the same to a lesser extent Douglas as Doc Holiday.  The whole story seems just a tab bit too contrived and again and again this problem with doing a film based on historical figures crops up, tying to make them cross paths. ie. the Arizona outlaws (Ringo) show up in Kansas, lol.

Van Fleet does a better job as alcoholic Big Nose Kate,  and the relationship between her and Doc is explosive at times but it is lost in the convolutions of the story. Fleming is a looker, but its one of the things Leone deservedly knocked US westerns for, she drags the already far fetched story down to a crawl.

I liked Sturges's "Hour Of The Gun" a film (which shows events after the OK Corral) much better than this but it too has been criticised by Tombstone historians. So Far His best Western has got to be Mag 7 followed closely by HotG and Joe Kidd.

John Ireland is ok as Ringo but he should have been a bit more amplified, and doesn't really stand out all that much, too bad. Jack Elam is Tom McLowery again he should have gotten a much bigger role, Dennis Hopper is really good as Billy Clanton, Star Treck's DeForrest Kelley plays Morgan Earp.

There are two things that stand out about this film. Number one is the first 18 minutes with the beautiful cinematic openning credit sequence shows three riders travelling across golden plains on their way into Ft. Griffin Texas, one of the riders is Ed Baily (Lee Van Cleef) out to avenge the killing of his brother by Doc Holiday. The riders end up in a Ft. Griffin Saloon and Van Cleef is priceless as the almost out of control hot headed Baily and this film is worth watching just for his parts.

The second standout is the landscapes and town sets they are great to look at, and that's it. Sturgis does this good "Hour Of The Gun" has great sets also. The OK Gunfight is a total fabrication, but it is good actionwise.

Soundtrack title song is by Frankie Lane, and this dates the film, the rest is orchestral by Dimitri Timokin but I didn't like it either.

Watch it for Van Cleef, Ireland, Elam, Hopper.


« Last Edit: December 10, 2006, 09:36:25 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2006, 11:50:18 AM »

  I'm a big John Sturges fan, Mag7 and Great Escape, but I've never been a huge fan of Gunfight at the OK Corral.  I agree completely about the casting, I love Burt Lancaster, but it just doesn't feel right.  IMO, James Garner is much better in Hour of the Gun, Jason Robards too as Doc.

  And I love your comment about the OK Corral.  The gunfight really took about 10, 15 seconds?  Or thereabout.  In the movie, it takes most of five minutes with the partakers ending up chasing each other into Tombstone.  Its still good and entertaining, but history, I think not.  Grin

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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 02:20:21 AM »

This is one of my all time favourite westerns. I put it above My Darling Clementine. Why? Lancaster miscast? Yes. I don't care. His chemistry with Douglas it's wonderful. I think it is even better than the Fonda-Quinn in Warlock. The Lancaster-Douglas scenes and the Douglas-Van Fleet (but why did they have to pick such an ugly one?) ones are the reasons I like it so much. And to think that I don't think much of both Lancaster and Douglas as actors. But Douglas here is at his best, on a par with The Vikings.The song which accompanies the movie sung by Laine made me regret this wasn't sung by Pitney ten years later. But it's a minor complainet. 9\10.

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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2009, 04:25:46 AM »

I prefer "Hour Of The Gun" but I'm a big Garner fan.

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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2009, 07:11:22 AM »

Hour of the Gun is very good. But though a better balanced movie than this it doesn't have Douglas: an actor I don't rate much but who on 2 or 3 performances is absolutely unique. And the dialogues here are much, much better.   

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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2009, 06:08:49 PM »

I'm with CJ on this. The romantic subplot ways the film down, luckily when we get to Tombstone we don't have to put up with it anymore.
I'll agree that Lancaster is mis-cast but I really like Douglas as Doc Holiday. The only problem with his portrayal is, except for the occasional cough, we don't get the sense that Doc is ever ill up until the final bits.
Was anybody else surprised to hear the word "Slut" yelled out rather prominantly in a film made in 57' ? I was.


6/10

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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 07:23:23 PM »

I'm with CJ on this. The romantic subplot ways the film down . . .
You mean you're with CJ and SL! Afro

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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 10:09:27 PM »

You mean you're with CJ and SL! Afro

Very true Cool


And might I add, Van Cleef's brief screen time is probably the best part of the movie.

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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2009, 08:15:18 AM »

Very true Cool
And might I add, Van Cleef's brief screen time is probably the best part of the movie.
Yikes! He's on screen for what, about a minute-and-a-half?

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 01:34:30 PM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 10:01:41 AM »

I saw this years ago. Hardly remember it. I did like the shootout at the end even though it's ridiculously inaccurate.

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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 10:23:58 AM »

I'm with CJ on this. The romantic subplot ways the film down, luckily when we get to Tombstone we don't have to put up with it anymore.
I'll agree that Lancaster is mis-cast but I really like Douglas as Doc Holiday. The only problem with his portrayal is, except for the occasional cough, we don't get the sense that Doc is ever ill up until the final bits.


Strange though thatr these objections aren't raised when dealing with My Darling ClementineAngry There the romantic subplot is more pervading than here (it actually constitutes the backbone of the movie) and the dialogues are not half as interesting as those between Douglas and his (ugly) woman. And Mature looks much more healthy than Douglas.

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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2009, 01:51:53 PM »

In My Darling Clementine, the romance subplot is complicated and consists of this: Chiquita loves Doc; Doc loves himself; Clementine thinks she loves Doc, but gradually transfers her affections to Wyatt; Wyatt is attracted to Clementine but is too inhibited to declare himself. The fact that much of the love is undeclared/unconsummated works to build tension in the story. The resolutions are not Hollywood standard: Doc dies, Wyatt rides off alone.

This arc runs parallel to the revenge story and does not interfere with it. I think this is an excellent example of how to use a love story--or two--in a Western. The film is able to maintain its hard edge throughout.

It's true there isn't much of interest in the way of dialogue, but then MDC is less about what is said between the characters and more about what goes unspoken.

Maybe this is a good time to refer to my "gaze theory"?

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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2009, 03:02:43 PM »


Go ahead.

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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2009, 03:28:44 PM »

I'm too mesmerized to continue.

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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2009, 12:40:59 AM »

In My Darling Clementine, the romance subplot is complicated and consists of this: Chiquita loves Doc; Doc loves himself; Clementine thinks she loves Doc, but gradually transfers her affections to Wyatt; Wyatt is attracted to Clementine but is too inhibited to declare himself. The fact that much of the love is undeclared/unconsummated works to build tension in the story. The resolutions are not Hollywood standard: Doc dies, Wyatt rides off alone.

This arc runs parallel to the revenge story and does not interfere with it. I think this is an excellent example of how to use a love story--or two--in a Western. The film is able to maintain its hard edge throughout.

It's true there isn't much of interest in the way of dialogue, but then MDC is less about what is said between the characters and more about what goes unspoken.

Maybe this is a good time to refer to my "gaze theory"?


Your first paragraph put me to sleep. But I'll admit it was more lively than the movie itself.

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