Back Add a Comment Share:
Facebook Button

Feature


[Arrow Official Synopsis] Wyatt Earp has long fascinated filmmakers. Actors from Burt Lancaster and James Stewart to Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner have played the legendary gunfighter, but no portrayal is more definitive that Henry Fonda s in My Darling Clementine.

John Ford s first Western since his seminal Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine ranks among the director s finest. Telling the story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and the friendship between Earp and Doc Holliday, Ford renders this famous tale into a lyrical masterpiece, filmed in his beloved Monument Valley and full of iconic moments.

This limited edition contains two versions of the Western classic the version that premiered in cinemas in December 1946 and the longer pre-release cut that had played to preview audiences earlier that year as well as another Wyatt Earp movie from 20th Century Fox, Allan Dwan s Frontier Marshal starring Randolph Scott and Cesar Romero.


 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall

Video


John Ford + Black and White + HD = beautiful. This John Ford western looks fantastic here on Blu-ray. Textures and detail are all round solid, black levels are deep adding so much to the clarity of the image and the lighting gives everything a glow that makes this old western look just great.

Grades of black, through grey to twinkling whites are many. The frame is full of variation and the strong sharp edges creates a fantastic depth to the image in the wide open plains. Night based scenes can prove to be a touch too dark in places but I personally liked how that looked and not being a long term fan of the film, I'm not 100% sure how intentional the darkness was meant to be. What's more impressive is the film seems almost entirely clean of dirt and debris and it's even more apparent when you look at the Pre-Released version on disc 2 that looks much rawer and how we've grown accustomed to old black and white westerns looking.

The image is at its best in close ups, with skin textures and stubble looking crisp throughout. Of course those wider shots looks pretty staggering too (besides a slight loss of detail through softness and a touch of grain from time to time) and when we're genuinely outside (as opposed to on a set with a background effect) the natural light brings everything to life in extra special ways, really enabling the presentation to shine with light and deep shadows playing together to great effect.

 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall

Audio


This is a very strong mono track full of high points such as gunshots and screams and consistently strong and crisp dialogue. There's absolutely no sense of the film's age with no signs of hiss or ageing at all and beyond the mono's built in smallness, there's no sense the film ever needs more to increase the experience.

The score sits proudly over the other elements but the layers still coexist well even when at their most aggressive. The scene where we find out the cattle is stolen, when the rain is pouring, Earp and his boys are shouting and the dramatic score noticeably rises, the track holds together and each element feels separate and we'll placed.

 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall

Extras


The commentary with Scott Eyman and Watt Earp III is another well structured, focused  track. A mix between comments on John Ford's film and Watt Earp's life and is very much a historians approach to the film with lots of technical highlights and details of Ford and his career.

'John Ford and Monument Valley' (56:53 HD) is a modern documentary but features archive footage of John Ford Country and celebrates Monument Valley  as we travel through his filmography. The more modern elements are made up of interviews from various experts but the mixture of old and new make up a very detailed and enjoyable documentary.

 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall
'Movie Masterclass' (01:03:27) is a 1998 Channel 4 show which again goes into a lot of John Ford's history and once again features interviews from colleagues and friends. My Darling Clementine becomes the focus and details of its mastery is covered.

'Lost and Gone Forever' (17:53 HD) is a visual essay by Tag Gallagher and talks of Ford's career a little more.

Last up on Disc 1 is a 'Stills Gallery' and 'Theatrical Trailer'

Moving on to Disc 2 we get the 'My Darling Valentine (Pre-release version)' (103 mins) which contains additional footage and a different soundtrack. It is a lesser print in terms of quality but a different version is always interesting to see.

We also get another movie Frontier Marshall (71 mins), which is another 20th Century Fox Wyatt Earp Feature film for those after some more Earp film fun.

Extras wise on Disc 2 we have 'What is the Pre-release Version?" (41:52 HD) which isn't just a throw away introduction but a full documentary detailing the pre-release version's history.

 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall
'Lux Radio Theatre: My Darling Valentine' (58:43) is a radio recording of the story starring Henry Fonda.

'Hallmark Playhouse: Wyatt Earp' (25:56) is another radio recording and wrapping up the set is a 'Frontier Marshall Still Gallery' and the '
Frontier Marshall Trailer.

Not received for this review, there's also a 40 page booklet [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE] containing new writing on My Darling Clementine by Kim Newman (author of Wild West Movies) and on Frontier Marshal by Glenn Kenny, plus an extensive archive interview with screenwriter Winston Miller, illustrated with original archive stills and posters as well as a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw.

Booklet containing new writing on My Darling Clementine by Kim Newman (author of Wild West Movies) and on Frontier Marshal by Glenn Kenny, plus an extensive archive interview with screenwriter Winston Miller, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Booklet containing new writing on My Darling Clementine by Kim Newman (author of Wild West Movies) and on Frontier Marshal by Glenn Kenny, plus an extensive archive interview with screenwriter Winston Miller, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

 My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall

Overall


My Darling Clementine is a classic of the genre and this Blu-ray release really gives it a presentation to be happy with. Looking and sounding amazing, especially given the film's age this John Ford western makes complete use of its new Blu-ray home. Add to that the other version of the film, all those extras and a whole other film to enjoy, this is another Arrow set that is a must for fans and newcomers to the film alike.

** Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

My Darling Clementine + Frontier Marshall


Links: