Wednesday, April 17, 2013

323. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)


Running Time: 122 minutes
Directed By: John Sturges
Written By: George Scullin, Leon Uris, from the article The Killer by George Scullin
Main Cast: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet, John Ireland
Click here to view the trailer

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Following a string of disappointing films (five to be exact), "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" is a STEP in the right direction. Granted, I would've much preferred a leap in the right direction, but a step will just have to do.


I think we all know, at least us movie fanatics anyway, the story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, so a brief and succinct plot synopsis should do just fine here. This time around Burt Lancaster is Wyatt Earp, Marshall of Dodge City, who tries to run the town with a fair and firm hand. Kirk Douglas is Doc Holliday, a dentist turned gambler who ain't too bad with a gun, nor a knife. The film doesn't lack bad guys either, as we learn about Ike Clanton and Johnny Ringo (Ireland), the former of which wants to transport a herd of stolen cattle out of Tombstone, Arizona; the latter of which is his hired hand. There's also a little love story intertwined in all the action too, as Wyatt falls for female gambler Laura Denbow (Fleming). Just as he's about to give up his Marshal job and marry her, trouble in Tombstone beckons, as Wyatt's brothers call upon him to help them stop the Clanton gang. Throughout the film, the friendship between Holliday and Earp is cemented and when the time comes for Wyatt and family to go to war, The Earps have no choice but to call on the terminally ill Doc.


So here we have another above average, but less than stellar Kirk Douglas movie and my hunt for the perfect Douglas movie continues. I swear I love watching the guy, but none of his movies have really hit the spot (unless you count "Out of the Past", which is more Robert Mitchum's movie than his). Yes, that's right, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" just failed to really quench my thirst for a great movie and despite being a step in the right direction, it was still far from a flawless affair. For starters, I'd say that it was a little on the long side. Had they been able to trim about twenty minutes, or even better, a half hour, I think the movie would've rolled along a lot smoother. There's a big chunk in the middle (and I do mean a BIG chunk) where the action sort of lingers, as all the characters have been introduced, all the fuses have been lit and we're simply left to wait around until the fire reaches the dynamite. Of course, the dynamite is THE gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which is very well shot, but barely worth waiting for, as it speeds along too fast and only lasts about seven-eight minutes. They would've been more spot on to call the movie "The Adventures of Earp and Holliday", because that's really what the film is. The film focuses more on building their relationship and talking about all the little adventures they get into and all the bad guys they encounter and less on the actual events that lead to the big finale.


On a more positive note, I have absolutely no complaints with the cast, as Lancaster and Douglas were both very well cast, with Douglas being the real star of the show - for me anyway. Rhonda Fleming looked amazing and the rest of the supporting cast did a fine job...no complaints. It's not that the movie was bad or anything (like I said...a step in the right direction), I just didn't get that "must see" feeling from it. It was certainly watchable, followable and for the most part, enjoyable, but it really failed to hit that upper echelon of greatness that I like to see and that is becoming more rare this season. Thumbs in the middle for this blogger.

RATING: 6.5/10  Good, but not great. Speaking of "great", I really, really wish something GREAT would come along...please!

MOVIES WATCHED: 659
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 342

April 17, 2013  1:56am

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