329--Week 9 Questions/Comments
- 1 1 Movie as secondary source about the past (What did it get right? What did it get wrong?)
- 2 a Right:
- 3 b Inaccurate/issues:
- 4 2 Film's relationship to current scholarship or to primary sources from the time
- 5 3 Movie as primary source about makers/time/setting/genre
- 6 4 Public reaction/impact
- 7 5 Other movies/questions of style/framing/storyline
- 8 6 Overall
1 Movie as secondary source about the past (What did it get right? What did it get wrong?)
Though mostly used for comedic effect, the barber from Chicago illustrated how people were coming out west not just to farm or mine but, as mentioned in the lecture, to be in the service industries. Also, relating to the service industries, the ambiguities of women in their less than reputable roles in the community was depicted as it is unclear exactly what Chihuahua does for money, though this could have been an ambiguity forced by censors of the day. Also the diversity of western settlements are largely ignored in the film, though there are a fair share of Mexicans, albeit not in flattering depictions.-Bryan Mull
The landscapes looked pretty legit for the most part. - Elle
...The names were right. And like Elle said, the landscape looked pretty real. -Kelly Wuyscik
I'd like to be the third person to agree and say that the scenery seemed on target. I watched this movie in my Intro to Film Studies class and we focused mainly on mise-en-scene and the setting, and how this movie is a great depiction of the environment of the Old West. Also, even though the Clanton family didn't "rustle" the cattle James Earp was protecting in reality, according to the reading, cattle rustling was common behavior (Problems of the Old West, 198). - David F.
While I did question much of the accuracy of the movie, one scene that really stood out in my mind was the accurate portrayal of the burial of James in the middle of the prairie. In her diary, Lydia Allen Rudd describes seeing the man made tombs they encountered along the way and how families would bury their relatives who died of diseases, albeit the horrifying effects and rampant spread of disease was not discussed in the movie although it was a significant part of western life, during the journey westward. --Mallory C.
The movie correctly portrayed Doc Holiday's character as suffering from Tuberculosis. Such as the movie depicted, this condition led to Doc Holiday's move out west, where the climate was warmer and drier. This was a common strategy for many who suffered from the illness in the 19th century. Not wishing to suffer the painful slow death of consumption, Doc Holiday led a reckless life, thinking death by gun or knife to be better. Another common treatment for consumption was a special kind of liquor used to control the cough - this was also depicted in the movie, when Holiday takes a sip from the bottle on his night stand, given to him by his lady friend Chihuahua(what a name for a prostitute!) ~Juliann
Also, to add onto what Bryan mentioned, the barber/ dentist was accurate. We learned in class that many settlers who moved out west would try their hands at many different professions instead of just sticking to one industry such as mining or gold digging. In this case the guy could cut hair and also pull teeth, as indicated by the sign hanging in the store. -- Mallory C.
One of my favorite moments was when Wyatt buffaloed one of the Tombstone Cowboys. It was actually accurate, as we mentioned Earp’s love of pistol whipping people in class. And it was totally awesome! --Taylor Brann
The little details are touchingly accurate. In the church scene, a pair of American flags is visible, displaying the correct star configuration for the early 1880s. - JT Newcomb
WOW! Where to start with this movie! My Darling Clementine rivals Pocahontas in the way that it includes historical characters, for the most part, while simultaneously fabricating the whole story. Here are some glaring inconsistencies that jumped out at me:
- Wyatt Earp was far from a moralistic vigilante marshal, he was a vagrant and outlaw in his own right.
- The Clanton’s didn’t kill James. The Clanton’s didn’t even instigate matters.
- Wyatt and Doc knew each other rather well prior to Tombstone and even “ran together”.
- There was NO mention of politics or political contexts to rivalries- all of the disputes in the movie were personal grievances.
- In the film, Tombstone was a one- street town full of vice. Although there was plenty of vice in the Old West, there was also an infrastructure and a functioning civil society.
- The Tombstone depicted in the film seemed to represent a rather monolithic society of white drinkers, outlaws, and gamblers, with a token black minstrel and Indian drunkard. Where were the representations of racial and cultural diversity?
- Where was Kate Elder, Clementine, “Curly” Bill Brocious, Mattie Blaylock, Johnny Ringo, John Behan, or Frank and Thomas McLaury, or Josephine Behan???
- No one in this movie died of disease. It was obvious that Doc was suffering from illness, but it was not specified.
These issues seem to be easy to work into the film. The exclusion of these characters and contexts make the movie easier to follow, but inevitably oversimplify and trivialize the complexities of the Old West. - Jason Ward
As Jason mentioned, this movie failed to include some minority groups, such as Asians and African Americans. The minority groups that were shown, Mexicans, and Native Americans, were portrayed in stereotypical and racist ways, with the Mexicans all wearing sombreros, and serapes, and the Native Americans as poor people who get drunk easily, and do crazy things while drunk. ~Katherine Stinson~
First Off - the song "Oh my Darling, Clementine," the movie's namesake - not a song about a prim and proper nurse who travels west from town to town to find her long last doctor love, only to be scorned by the new woman in his life. The song is about the daughter of a miner in the California Gold Rush of 1949, who falls into the water and drowns. So why, oh why, invent the title character Clementine and open up the movie with the song? The fictional character Clementine Carter in the movie didn't even have anything to do with the hostile dynamics between the Clantons and Earps, and certainly nothing to do with the OK Corral. So, how does the title of the movie, "My Darling Clementine" even relate to the main plot of the movie? ~Juliann
I found the surgery scene to be misleading for a few reasons. First off Doc was walking around like a surgeon on "ER" who just scrubbed up, when cleanliness was not typically a recognized necessity. Also Doc became a surgeon in the movie when he was actually a dentist. Unless Chihuahua was shot in the mouth I don't see how he could have been a whole lot of help. Lastly, Chihuahua looked better on her death bed than she did in the rest of the film, not exactly an historical inaccuracy but bothersome nonetheless. -Bryan Mull
I agree with Bryan on the surgery scene. This scene seemed too Hollywood where they called for a “doctor in the house” and Dr. Holiday came to the rescue and saved the day; well not really later in the movie. Also Chiuana did look better when she was on her death bed than the beginning of the film. She had too much makeup on, which didn’t give a real look of how women were portrayed. –Ashley Scutari
Regarding racial and ethnic diversity, I noticed that aside from the Indian drunkard, and stereotypically indeed, there were scatterings of Indians in background of mainly outdoor scenes, either standing or sitting, but always serious and with blankets wrapped around themselves. There were a lot of Mexicans in the tavern, at times more than others, and the cooks were also Mexican. What amused me, however, is when one male Mexican-looking cook answers Clementine, "Oui, Mademoiselle" about Doc's health. -Whitney Holcomb
This has already been said, but honestly, where were the Asians and Blacks? Also, I honestly feel like I only remember seeing no more than 3 or 4 Latinos. This just seems impossible to me, especially with Arizona's heavy Latin influence. -Cash Nelson
In class Dr. M showed us a layout of the city of tombstone, and we saw the 1881 picture of the town with a population of several thousand. The film's representation of Tombstone as a tiny one-street town full of rowdy people at night supports the stereotypical tiny frontier town. We learned that there were often schools and churches early in a town's establishment, which, nevertheless, we actually do see depicted in Tombstone. Coincidentally, it while the Earps were there that the church was dedicated and Clementine was chosen as a teacher. Nothing, however, implies that the town is recent, and all these families show up for church from...goodness knows where, but seemingly all miles away, talking as though they've been waiting years for a church. -Whitney Holcomb
I found the character of Clementine to be problematic. We are led to believe she has been riding stage coaches across the west in search of Doc. First off, where are the trains? Also, the lecture pointed out that if anything, most women were reluctant to be dragged out west, not fall all over themselves to go out on their own. -Bryan Mull
The shoot out was not at all how it was described in the lecture. Remember it did not take place in the OK Corral, it took place in an abandoned lot NEAR the corral - so the dramatic shooting between horses is just classic film embellishment. -Elle
Did prostitutes know how to sing back in the days of the Old West? Also, since so many people referenced the surgery scene, I wanted to know how they handled medical treatment then. Were hospitals built? If not, did they aid victims right there on the spot (like in the movie, when Chihuahua got shot, would they have taken her to the back room of the bar to do surgery)? - David F.
I don't know where to start with this film, I have to agree that its like Pocahontas in the way that it used historical characters and you got to see pretty scenery that should have matched the approximate time and place... however, just about everything else seems wrong. Wyatt Earp was definitely not described as some kind of 'hero' in class on Tuesday, but that's how he is portrayed in the film. Also... I don't remember one of the brothers being killed that earlier. Another problem was that I remember hearing that Doc and the Earps were friends before Tombstone? This movie is completely wacked, but I remember it being said in class that the book by Mr. Lake was basically fiction. --Ashley Wilkins
Its kind of annoying that everyone seemed to have 'heard' of Wyatt beforehand... like he had some legend preceeding him... but we learned in class that it was not so. --Ashley Wilkins
There were a lot of things wrong with this movie. It was very stereotypical of westerns. It only showed Native Americas, whites and only a few Latinos. How was Doc able to preform surgery when he was a dentist? and by how he talked he hadn't even been doing that for awhile. -- Kellye Sorber
When did being a dentist qualify someone to preform surgery on a bullet wound? Last time i checked a Bullet wound is much more damaging then a wisdom tooth.--- Matt DeMarr
Why did the director kill of poor James Earp? as far as i can tell he was one of the only good brothers. I don't understand why a director changes history in order to make a story work. The director apparently only want to have a classic western then an actually historical story. The Clanton's are immediately made the villains and the Earp's are the righteous heroes.-- Matt DeMarr
Another major problem in this movies historical accuracy is the relationship between Doc Holliday and Wyatt Erp. They were already friends before they even came to Tombstone. They also had their own women and their wasn't a rivalry between them like the movie portrays. Morgan dosen't die to after the showdown not before. Wheres Wyatt's pistol whipping. - Jonathan Bell
The scene where Wyatt just wanted to play a nice game of honest poker and he basically quit after finding out about Chihuahua helping his rivals was just cute. He totally seemed like such an upstanding guy that he would never put up with that. He easily wins over the prettiest, smartest girl, doesn't take up with the prostitute, and is only trying to avenge his family. What a vision of the Old West! -- Amanda Russell
Wyatt Earp: The Classic Western Hero. He’s just a noble, avenging passerby who comes in to clean up an immoral and violent little town and seek justice for his brother. After he’s done what he set out to do he leaves as quickly as he swept in. He’s played as the traditional stock cowboy hero that can be seen in most Westerns. The problem is the real Wyatt Earp wasn’t much like that. He was a drinking, gambling vagrant who could be just as immoral as the towns he was acting as marshal for. But it’s Henry Fonda, and who wants to see wholesome Henry Fonda as a scoundrel? I'm scarred enough from seeing Gregory Peck in The Boys from Brazil… --Taylor Brann
What was up with Clementine and Chihuahua? Are they based on the various ladies we talked about in class? It’s no wonder Chihuahua died though, with a dentist (at least that’s what Doc Holliday really was) doing surgery on her. And the ages of the brothers were all messed up. The movie made Wyatt seem like the oldest, but James was actually the oldest. And where was Warren Earp, the youngest brother? Also, James wasn’t killed. In fact, Morgan was the only brother who got killed. It’s kind of terrible actually, because the inside slip that comes with my DVD says that the real life feuding was “initially set in motion by the slaying of James Earp, Wyatt’s younger brother.” Yeah… okay. --Taylor Brann
One major issue I had with the character of Clementine is that she didn't look at all like she had just traveled from Boston to Arizona. She was completely put together and clean-cut and was also beyond thrilled to have arrived. I feel that for a young woman to make that trip on her own would have been completely unrealistic. With the amount of baggage she had with her (which, yes most women do tend to bring when packing for trips) that trip solo would have been nearly impossible. Especially to keep up her physical appearance. -Kelly Wuyscik
2 Film's relationship to current scholarship or to primary sources from the time
The portrayal and treatment of the drunken Indian related to the three of the readings that we had to read for this week that discussed Indian affairs. That Indian was idle and he got drunk, presumably at the saloon. Helen Hunt Jackson talked some about idleness of the Native Americans. She said that so many Indians have suffered either by the US government or by the white migrants (Jackson, A Century of Dishonor). Also, the fact that we still a couple of Native Americans sitting in the background seems to respond to the fact that during the times of the actual events, the welfare of the Natives were in the back of the minds of the American people. As said by Red Cloud, the white people in charged of the "Indian Department" help themselves before helping the people who need it! Benjamin Harrison's "Report on Wounded Knee and the Decrease in Indian Land Acreage" at Wounded Knee shows just how in the background the Indians were. He described the Sioux tribes as "naturally warlike" so he dismisses their hardships based on that. -Lauren
I feel that the diaries from Lydia Allen Rudd and Sister Monica provide a glimpse of the hardships that the Western settlers faced. They chronicled the wretched weather, illness, disease, insecurities, and struggles with dire detail. None of the fears and challenges that plagued actual settlers were conveyed in the movie. – Jason Ward
My Darling Clementine and most other Westerns succeed in having the Old West exist in a vacuum devoid of any contact with the East or other cultures. In, An Overland Journey (1860) Horace Greeley explains how vitally important it is to be connected to the Eastern establishment. Greeley points to the transcontinental railroad as the harbinger of civilization for the West and prosperity for the entire nation. From Greeley’s perspective, with improved transportation comes improved communication, migration, (especially the migration of women who up to this point were in the distinct minority in the West) and education. Greeley says that by working together to build a railroad, our industry and technology will improve, leading to greater prosperity. None of the characters or storylines in My Darling Clementine articulated any of the desires that are present in the Greeley reading. The movie makes it seem that these settlers were out West languishing in vagrancy and insecurity, when in fact boom towns had institutions that constituted a civil society. - Jason Ward
Edward Gould Buffum's Six Months in Gold Mines correlates to "My Darling Clementine" in that is demonstrates somewhat how the citizens had to take the law into their own hands. The source describes an out of hand situation where men were lynched for petty crimes due to a rambunctious mob. At the beginning of the film Wyatt took the law into his own hands to clobber the drunken indian who was shooting up a saloon. Later citizens were in charge of appointing their own marshall. - Elle
When James died and the cattle were gone, it was pouring rain out. McCoy wrote about how in heavy storms, if the herder didn't have the skill, he couldn't control the cattle and they would run away. It seems possible that this is what could have actually happened to the Earps' cattle once Billy Clanton killed James, and in the middle of nowhere they could have gone anywhere. Wyatt speaks early on of their cattle having been rustled, but never mentions that again; he is only concerned with avenging his brother's death. Not once does he confront the Clantons about his cattle. Even at the end, he suggests that he might try to buy some new cattle and start ranching again--implying that he never believed his cattle could be recovered. -Whitney Holcomb
The reading "Major Problems in the American West" does mention vigilante action taken up for cattle rustling, and mentions Roosevelt's advocacy. We definitely see plenty of vigilante action somewhat connected to rustling. The reading on women in the West makes conditions seem totally unfavorable and a rough life. It seems wrong that Clementine would be so clean, even-tempered and patient after such a long, roundabout, and seemingly dangerous journey. --Amanda Russell
To add to Amanda's comment, in Sister Monica's Diary of a Journey to Arizona, the Sister talks about how harsh the trip westward actually was - she mentions frequently all the graves and dead animals she passes. She mentions the wildness of the men they encounter, she mentions how arduous the trip could be, as food and supplies run out. The Sister was successful in her journey because of the Driver and the resourcefulness of the other women with her. There would be absolutely no way a woman, like Clementine, could make that journey alone. Not to mention - a single female traveling alone from one frontier town to the next would be extremely vulnerable to the darker nature of man and most likely would never actually reach her destination, and as Amanda said, certainly not looking as she did when she arrived. ~Juliann
I'm reading a book about John Ford's films because I am analyzing The Grapes of Wrath for my research project. For My Darling Clementine the author makes the argument that the film is almost allegorical in its set-up. It says, "Wyatt Earp (the U.S.) gives up marshalling in Dodge City (World War I), but takes up arms again to combat the Clantons (WWII) to make the world safe. Victory is horrible, and Wyatt must return to the wilderness, to his father (confession; reconstruction), leaving innocence, hope, and civilization (Clementine) behind, a distant memory (the long road) in Tombstone (the world of 1946)." --Shauser 21:50, 22 October 2008 (MDT)
In my research for The Searchers I too have noticed the same pattern, as Ethan Edwards upon returning Debby to white civilization does not enter through the door, left to roam the country alone. The man taking up arms to make the world safe patter is also evident in Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. From what I have read it was also a part of Stagecoach, but I could be wrong. -B Mull
3 Movie as primary source about makers/time/setting/genre
I found a few interesting Cold War references in this 1946 American Western classic. Firstly, let us start with the genre. “The Western” itself is uniquely and quintessentially American, speaking in the most stereotypical terms. Westerns typically had a strong, moralistic, vigilante male who would rid the town of evil, and what better time to extol American character and values than during one of the most vulnerable periods in our modern history- The Cold War. I think the “good vs. evil” dichotomy that dominated the Western narratives mirrors the “good vs. evil” battle being waged on the Cold War frontiers in the decade following World War II. Secondly, these films, especially My Darling Clementine, are peppered with Pro- American rhetoric and symbolism. The first instance that struck me was when Wyatt Earp was talking to His brother James’ tombstone. Earp vowed that he would avenge James’ death by taking the law into his own hands and ridding the world of evil. Earp says “I'm gonna be around here for a while. Can't tell. Maybe when we leave this country young kids like you will be able to grow up and live safe.” I am sure safety and security was something that western frontiersmen wanted for their kin, but this particular dialogue smacks of RED FEAR! The second reference intrigued me for a few reasons, and that was the symbolism of the Church. The inclusion of the church struck me as out of place in a way. I do not know how common it was for churches to be found in cattle towns or mining towns, especially when vagrancy and immorality seemed to epitomize the way of life therein. Visually, the two American flags flying on the half- built church served to equate America with Godliness, leaving John Ford with yet another way to criticize those Godless Commies! - Jason Ward
There was only one “Indian” reference, and it was not flattering to them at all. The Indian at the beginning of the film goes on a shooting rampage because he is too liquored up, then Wyatt Earp takes control of the situation by beating him over the head with a rock. Earp first chastises the townspeople for allowing an Indian to drink, (I assume because of the stereotype that Native Americans have a low tolerance for alcohol) then runs the Indian out of town saying don’t come back. Was such little contact with so few Indians the norm? Would interactions be so cruel? Was that interaction an accurate portrayal of White- Native relations back then, or was it more representative of America in the 1940s? - Jason Ward
Jason, I wonder if maybe you are overplaying the role of communism in the symbolism of the film? Ford, though an ardent military man who prided himself on his service in the Navy, had six years earlier made, The Grapes of Wrath (also starring Henry Fonda). This was a film which faced a lot of criticism for socialist overtones. Also a line similar to “I'm gonna be around here for a while. Can't tell. Maybe when we leave this country young kids like you will be able to grow up and live safe.” is in The Searchers (also by Ford) where Mrs. Jorgenson says "Some day, this country's gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come." These lines struck me more as being in the tone of rugged individuals dealing with the harsh realities of setting up a new life than any sort of reference to Russians. Though the flags on the church do seem a bit heavy handed. -Bryan Mull
The scene where Wyatt kicks out the drunk indian reflects stereotypes and racism towards Indians during the time period. As far as history about the times goes this scene seems unusual because as racist as people were towards Indians at that time period it seems more likely that the people would have ganged up and killed the Indian and it seems unusual that there was even an Indian in the town in the first place. - Jonathan Bell
The choice to cast a white woman, Linda Darnell, as the Hispanic Chihuahua (nice name) seems to reflect a general trend in Hollywood at this time. Dr. McClurken mentioned in class that Gone With the Wind was unusual in that it featured African-American actors instead of white actors in blackface. That being said, I wasn't at all surprised to see an Anglo-American with dark hair playing a Hispanic woman in My Darling Clementine. - Sarah Richardson
What always strikes me about these older movies are the power punches pack. With one single blow Wyatt knocked Doc over and unconscious - Hollywood's fist fights were always so clean and dramatic. ~Juliann
Dear G-d John Ford! "What are you doing selling liquor to an Indian anyway?!"- Fonda... well I guess I should be happy the line didn't read "Ingun" or "Redskin." This kind of treatment is characteristic of all westerns throughout the big western movie era. Henry Fonda's daughter, Jane Fonda, did a western spoof film in the late 60s called "Cat Balloo" where they make fun of the classic films blatant racism and stereotyping of Native Americans. I think Blazing Saddles did this too in the late 60s or early 70s. At least some filmmakers, by the time of the civil rights movement were aware of this negative portrayal, but the only ones to point it out were comedies, which were not exactly correcting the stereotype. This film is praised as being one of John Ford's most moralistic and sensitive films by its fans and look what kind of an example it is giving!--Jackie Reed
4 Public reaction/impact
My Darling Clementine is probably just as inaccurate and damaging to our understanding of the Old West as Pocahontas is to our understanding of initial English settlement and European- Native relations if we isolate the two films. What distinguishes these two movies are their impacts on Americans’ understandings of the respective contexts covered by the films. Pocahontas is one of the few widely popularized versions of that period in our national history, whereas My Darling Clementine is simply another movie in a seemingly infinite line of films depicting the Old West. My Darling Clementine does not define how we understand the Old West as much as it simply adds to our distorted perception of the time. It can be argued that Pocahontas is the only representation many Americans have of the first wave of settlement by Europeans. Therefore, My Darling Clementine is as damaging as Pocahontas, but less definitive. - Jason Ward This seems like the type of movie that was created for sheer entertainment purposes and not actually to retell a historical event. Now, I'm not sure if that is an accurate assumption or not, but if so, then I'm not too concerned with what it relayed. That being said, I definitely agree with Jason that it is a damaging portrayal of the American west and a group of men that actually lived the lifestyle. You learn pretty much nothing about Wyatt Earp, except that he had three brothers and was a Marshall, and you learn only the names of pretty much everyone else involved in his life. It's an unrealistic depiction that shaped the way most Americans thought the west to be. But, as we've learned this semester, it's not the only movie to do that. And I also really like the movie so I can't bash it too much. -Kelly Wuyscik
My Darling Clementine succeeds only as a classic. The movie does a mediocre job representing the historic context of Wyatt Earp’s story. The portrayal of post civil war chaos in the movie is historically accurate as it shows that every man fended for himself and that unfocused violence was common. The portrayal of westward migration is accurate, with the exception that the movie rarely shows other ethnicities who shared the same space. Great movie, but overall historical accuracy seems to be secondary in the movie, as it provides us with entertainment, not facts. James D.
5 Other movies/questions of style/framing/storyline
This movie wasn't really about Clementine, yet the name implies it. She was a supporting character. The movie was about Wyatt Earp and his life. The name irks me. I heard "My Darling Clementine" in some of the scenes that she appeared, but why did the makers pick that name when the movies isn't about her?! -Lauren
It is remarkable how upon seeing My Darling Clementine for the first time I was struck by how many conventions there were used in the film that reminded me of other films which have followed. Doc Holiday is the respected and feared individualist acting outside the law, much like Ethan Edwards (The Searchers), Shane (Shane), Tom Doniphun (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), Tom Dunson (Red River), and Charlie Bronson's character in Once Upon a Time in the West. Earp is the righteous lawman who will go against long odds to stand for what he believes in much like Will Kane (High Noon), JT Chance (Rio Bravo), and to some extent Rance Stoddard (...Liberty Valance). There are also smaller things like Old Man Clanton carrying around a whip, as did Liberty Valance and I believe the eldest Ryker in Shane does as well. Also, I don't know if anyone has seen Appaloosa, but the way that Earp leaned on his chair out on the porch made me think immediately of Ed Harris' character in that movie. Lastly, beyond the use of actors who would play roles in many other westerns (Fonda, Ward Bond, Walter Brennan), Ford made use of Monument Valley as he would in numerous other films, notably The Searchers.- Bryan Mull
As for the scene with the building of the church, was that accurate with the excitement from the community in the creation of the church in the Tombstone town during the 19th century? –Ashley Scutari
The relationship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday is intriguing. In this film and in Tombstone (not sure about Wyatt Earp though) they are portrayed as having much tension between them, even though we know they were friends before the shoot-out. I think the choice to have these two figures depicted in such a way was to convey that the two would have represented what it was to be masculine in the Old West (Wyatt going through all the jobs of the Old West and both Doc and the Earps having a love for gambling). So, to have Doc and Wyatt be character foils to each other was maybe a directorial choice, created purely for dramatic effect. - David F
Did anyone else find this movie blatantly politically incorrect and offensive? I understand that when the movie was made it was a different era than the one we live in now, but the one drunk Indian and the Oriental Saloon? --Mallory C.
When I watched this movie I kept thinking back to Tombstone. Tombstone was one of my favorite movies and so I found myself constantly comparing the two movies in my head while watching it. Tombstone really did a much better job at portraying the characters then My Darling Clementine. First off all the important characters were included in Tombstone while many characters were excluded in My Darling Clementine such as Maddie, Mayor Beahan, Johnny Ringo etc. Tombstone also portrayed Wyatt in a more accurate way as a gambler who would use pistol whipping violence to get what he wanted and was only really interested in justice when he had something personal at stake. - Jonathan Bell
I don't understand why the director would change so many details about the shoot out. When we talked about it in class it seems to me the real thing would have been dramatic enough to make into to a film. There were the two sides, the hatred between the two sides, the love triangle, the event that sparks the need for the fight, and the eventual showdown. Why make up other people and events? - Christine W.
My research project is on The Searchers, another Ford Western, and in many texts Ford is lauded for bringing his sensibilities from the silent film era where he started into the more modern film era. I was curious if anyone picked up any techniques that were rooted in silent era practices? I don't really have any exposure to silent films so I was curious if anyone was and picked up on anything?- B Mull
I did wonder who ran/started the Oriental Saloon, when we clearly saw the sign but no trace of "Orientals." Even the drunk Indian was seen in poor light and could have been any race from where I was sitting. I imagine this was purposefully done. I would like to think that it was because they did not want to show an actual Native American drunk and being shamed and kicked out of town, however, we know that Hollywood often has few qualms. Perhaps it was to maintain the lack of focus on anyone other than the whites? --Amanda Russell
Interesting fact (according to Wikipedia anyway) the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone was actually existed and was co-owned by Wyatt Earp, who ran the gambling concession there.~Juliann
Christine: Wasn't this movie based off of the book, which was admitted to be entirely fiction? I think the directors would be more likely to use this known book with romance and drama (yes?) for their film in 1946 than do a bunch of research to find out what Earp's true biography was and attempt any accuracy beyond the few names and general ideas that they used. And whether or not they knew the facts about the shootout, one must admit that the film's shootout out in the corral, with the fences to climb or dodge behind and the freaked-out horses to avoid, a long scene with strategy and multiple dramatic deaths, is much more entertaining to watch than 30 seconds of a 30 shots flying in a vacant lot with three "bad guys" dead and two who flee. However, I have never seen Wyatt Earp or Tombstone, so I cannot compare them. -Whitney Holcomb
I loved it. I love Henry Fonda! - Jason Ward
See? No one understood why I was so excited to watch this movie this week. Henry Fonda is amazing. --Kelly Wuyscik
I think that the movie was okay, but the title was dumb. Clementine played little part in the plot, and has anybody else checked out the lyrics to "Oh My Darling Clementine?" They began and ended the movie with singing parts of the song including "dwelt a miner forty-niner"... not quite someone in a silver rush in AZ. And Clementine drowns. And I apologize to all those people who love Henry Fonda, but I don't care about him (probably because I've never seen him in anything else) and I think Victor Mature as Doc is pretty cute.
I enjoyed the film and Fonda is good, but how do we include a western and not have it be one with John Wayne, THE definitive western film star? Also I enjoyed seeing Walter Brennan as something other than a bumbling old coot.(note: the more I thought about it, most of Wayne's westerns don't lend themselves to an historical analysis as they don't include real historical figures like the denizens of Tombstone.) -Bryan Mull
Bryan, I'm guessing Dr. M is trying to avoid lauding one of the most racist actors in the American canon, but it's just a thought. -Cash Nelson
Cash, I think Mel Gibson would like to have a word with you...
Hey. Mel Gibson was in What Women Want and Signs. He has paid his debt to society. --Cash
Boys, Boys. They are both racist, so quit fighting. But Fonda was a pretty liberal guy for his day. In fact, Fonda (as a staunch Democrat) once got in an argument with his very good friend Jimmy Stewart (a staunch Republican) which led to a fist fight. They never discussed politics again). And I agree with the above comment, Victor Mature is totally sexier than Henry Fonda, what with all the brooding and being a misunderstood dentist (whoops, I mean SURGEON) Really, who expected him to be able to save Chihuahau? He only got his medical degree in ORAL surgery!--Jackie Reed
Overall I enjoyed the film especially when the Marshall “buffaloed” (spelling?) one of the Clanton brothers in the bar with his gun when he was trying to get the Shakespearean actor. –Ashley Scutari
I have to be completely honest, I was very disappointed by this movie. I kept checking the time left option while watching. Where did the love story come in? Maybe I've been spoiled by my love for Sergio Leone's style of western, but I guess I was expecting Wyatt Earp to be more of a Man With No Name than anything else. Bummer. --Cash Nelson
I enjoyed the film overall, but I think its because I expected it to be basically a fictional film I wasn't expecting it to be to overly accurate. --Ashley Wilkins
I did enjoy the movie, it really reminded me of a soap opera, there was so much drama between the characters. I still think Tombstone is a better movie. -- Kellye Sorber
What is up with Chihuahua is she Latino? why not get an actually Hispanic actress instead of a white actress? I totally didn't understand that she was Latino until I looked it up on IMDB then I found out she didn't even have a last name. That is just sad that a director introduces a character without at least giving it a last name. Seriously, I didn't understand that she was Latino except by her name, she just looked like a white lady that has never taken a bath.-- Matt DeMarr
Matt, I think she was supposed to. From her name and the fact that at one point, she called out "Mamacita!" (Mexican word for "little mother." Note that it's the Mexican Spanish. Spaniards would used "mamita.") when she threw the bag of gold that Doc threw at her when he rushed off. -Lauren
Matt, and Lauren, I don't think Chihuahua is supposed to be Latino at all. The name is just the name she has as an entertainer or whatever she can be classified as. I don't think it would have been uncommon to choose a Spanish word for a name (whether she or her employer did). Chihuahua is actually a large state in northern Mexico. Such a name might be considered exotic to a white man, although the girl isn't (thus making her more desirable). Also, just because she used "mamacita" doesn't mean she has to be Latino. We use Spanish expressions sometimes, too, and we're not Latino! And this is not the only instance in a film that a character is given only a first name because that's all the only one mentioned in the movie! -Whitney Holcomb
Being a big fan of Tombstone really makes it hard for me to see this movie in a good way. Although Tombstone get several things wrong as well it portrayed the actual characters and situation far better than My Darling Clementine. Also the Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine can never compare to Val Kilmers Doc Holliday from Tombstone. - Jonathan Bell
I really did not like this movie. I have seen parts of old westerns before and so I had some knowledge of the style but I was expecting something more related to what we talked about in class on Tues. By the end of the movie I was very disappointed and couldn't really understand what was supposed to be the plot, there were so many side plots. - Christine W.
Did anybody else notice the barbershop sign? Apparently, the barber and the dentist are the same man. While it’s certainly good for comic relief, I wonder if people actually did that in Western towns. I wouldn’t be surprised, as it seems like a good way to make more money and consolidate things in a small town. But really, what luck, two of the worst moments to be sitting in a bad chair: when you’re getting a shave and when you’re getting your teeth pulled. --Taylor Brann
I've seen more than my fair share of Westerns in the last few months, and I gotta ask: am I the only one who wants to take up drinking whiskey after watching these movies? I am curious if these movies influenced whiskey consumption in the same way that cigarette use in older films likely made cigarettes "cool"? - B Mull
Although we lampooned it a bit in class, I have to say that I much prefer Deadwood to this kind of Western. Sensationalize the old West though it may, at least Deadwood is a phenomenal show. And the very flawed Tombstone is entertaining sheerly because it is one of the cheesiest films ever made (so, so nineties). - Sarah Richardson
Taken in a vacuum, devoid of historical knowledge, comparison to other Wyatt Earp stories, or any other silly distractions, My Darling Clementine is great and entertaining, but going into the movie with the detailed character list we picked up in class, I was pretty disappointed that the story didn't stick closer to the truth. The history was much more complicated, but so much more interesting. It would have taken more than 90 minutes to tell the story as it happened, but we've seen Gone With the Wind, so we know America will pay to sit still for three hours and gobble up old stories. - JT Newcomb