Author Topic: Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957)  (Read 2144 times)

Offline Antares

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Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957)
« on: September 16, 2011, 12:21:40 AM »
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Year: 1957
Film Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Western
Length: 122 Min.

John Sturges (1910)

Leon Uris (1924)...Writer
George Scullin...Article "The Killer"

Joseph H. Hazen (1898)
Paul Nathan (1912)
Hal B. Wallis (1899)

Charles Lang (1902)

Dimitri Tiomkin (1894)...Composer

Burt Lancaster (1913) as Marshal Wyatt Earp
Kirk Douglas (1916) as Dr. John 'Doc' Holliday
Rhonda Fleming (1923) as Laura Denbow
Jo Van Fleet (1914) as Kate Fisher
John Ireland (1914) as Johnny Ringo
Lyle Bettger (1915) as Ike Clanton
Frank Faylen (1905) as Sheriff Cotton Wilson
Earl Holliman (1928) as Deputy Sheriff Charles 'Charlie' Bassett

OK Corral... OK Corral
there the outlaw band make their final stand
OK Corral

You know you're in for a western treat when the opening song of the film is sung by Frankie Laine. For this second film about the Earp boys and Doc Holliday, the director is John Sturges, a director best known for his seminal western The Magnificent Seven and his epic WWII prison drama, The Great Escape. Sturges' films were known for having a fairly decent amount of action in them, and less of the psychological insights into his characters. This film is no exception. In terms of star power, this version goes for broke by having two of the biggest stars of the time play the pivotal roles of Earp & Holliday. Burt Lancaster plays Wyatt Earp with his usual bombastic flair and Kirk Douglas delivers his lines with the strained seriousness which he had become known for. Unfortunately, you never quite can see past the fact that it's Burt & Kirk acting, yet never becoming the characters. Another weakness in the film probably stems from the fact that a good portion of the budget went to pay their salaries, and not much is left over for the supporting cast of male actors. Lyle Bettger, known only to hardcore western junkies of the time as a bit character actor who played villains, is pretty unremarkable as Ike Clanton. You do have John Ireland playing Johnny Ringo, but just as with Lancaster & Douglas, you never can see beyond the fact it's Ireland acting his usual tough guy persona.

For the first time, we get a look at Big Nose Kate, the prostitute who was Doc Holliday's companion. But Hollywood was still being dictated to by the Breen office, and Jo Van Fleet is saddle with playing her as a desperate drunk, clinging on to Holliday as he self destructs. Rhonda Fleming is given a throw away role as a beautiful gambling lady whom Wyatt falls in love with. I guess this was suppose to be based on Josie Marcus, the dancer who would one day become Mrs. Earp, but she was never a big stakes gambler.

When time came for the famous shootout, Sturges decided that a quick shootout in a cramped opening abutting the stable wasn't exciting enough, so the altercation is spread out on the outskirts of town. Doc Holliday uses a six gun instead of a shotgun, which for some unexplained reason, is used by Wyatt Earp, instead of his famed Buntline revolver, which we see him play around with in an earlier scene. Now the historical inaccuracies comes fast and furious, as the action on screen plays out.
(click to show/hide)
I can understand taking a little poetic license with a story to spruce up the action, but they play so fast and loose, that this whole segment could have been supplanted into Sturges' next western Last Train from Gun Hill, and you wouldn't have never known the difference.

It's a fun ride, but when all is said and done, it never rises above a B movie western from the same era.

Boot hill Boot hill
so cold so still
There they lay side by side
the killers that died
in the gunfight at ok corral
ok corral

But damn if it ain't worth it just to listen to Frankie Laine croon that song.

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 05:17:52 PM by Antares »