My Darling Clementine

Released November 1946 by Twentieth Century Fox, 35mm black and white, 1.37:1 screen ratio, mono sound, 97 min.

poster from filmsite




This film is a western set in Tombstone, Arizona, at the time of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral in 1881 between the rival families of the Earps and Clantons. John Ford began his Hollywood career making 20 western 2-reelers for Universal 1917-1919. After the first great epic western The Covered Wagon in 1923 by James Cruze, Ford made his longest epic film The Iron Horse (160 min, 1280 scenes, 5000 extras, 2000 horses, 1300 buffalo, 10,000 cattle, shot entirely on location in Nevada), and established himself as the leading director of the western film. During the Depression of the 1930's, westerns lost popularity, but started to rebound with Stagecoach in 1939. Ford agreed to make a series of films for Darryl Zanuck in 1939, but these were postponed by World War II. As soon as Ford retumed from the Navy in 1945, he and Zanuck decided to make a film about Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral based on the Stuart Lake 1931 book that made Wyatt Earp famous and had been made into a 1939 film Frontier Marshall, written by Sam Hellman and directed by Allen Dwan. But the Lake book was a fabrication and was not based on any first-person interviews. Ford had known Wyatt Earp personally and wanted to tell his own version of what happened at the O.K. Corral at 2 pm on October 26, 1881. Ford also wanted to make a film that reflected a triumphant America emerging from a just war. Veteran screenwriter Winston Miller, just out of the Marines, wrote the screenplay by March 1946 and filming began that spring in Monument Valley, Utah. Ford made changes to the shooting script during filming, and Zanuck made some edits behind Ford, especially eliminating most of the brothel scenes around Kate Nelson.


revised 2/18/03 by Schoenherr | Reserve articles | Filmnotes