Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Holliday and the Earps mean business.
American film director John Sturges established his reputation as one of Hollywood’s specialists in its greatest and best loved genre: the western. The movie that first made his reputation was his interpretation of the real life events that took place on the 26th October 1881 in the town of Tombstone Arizona, an incident that became known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Wyatt Earp, his two brothers Virgil and Morgan along with Wyatt’s friend, the gambler, gunfighter and ex-dentist, Doctor John Holliday were determined that Tombstones escalating crime wave must be resolved. There followed the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West. It has been said that the gunfight against Ike Clanton and “The Cowboys” was provoked by the Earp's because of their business interests in the silver produced by local mines, the production and transportation of which was being threatened by the loose confederation of outlaws, rustlers and small ranchers called The Cowboys led by the Clanton family. After the gunfight Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were charged with murder, the only men not formally employed as officers of the law and the two least wounded. The court decided that there was not enough evidence too indict the men, they walked free.

Sturges’s 1957 version starred two of best actors of that period, my personal favourite Burt Lancaster played Wyatt Earp with a lot of conviction, the great Kirk Douglas portraying Holliday, the role only bettered by Val Kilmer in 1993’s Tombstone. The two men carry the film with their immense on screen presence and make it impossible not to get completely involved with the action. Truly a classic

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