(Review originally written at 15 January 2007)

This is a great and underrated genre movie that is a take on the story of the Earp brothers and 'Doc' Holliday and their fight with the Clanton gang, in Tombstone.

The movie features some classic western characters, that almost everybody knows already. It makes the movie more easy and probably also more fun and light to follow than most other genre movies. The movie features very many characters, with could had made the movie confusing to follow but you just know who all the characters are and where they stand.

The story is very fascinating and entertaining. It's a bold story about gunslingers and lawmen and getting even. The story also leaves room for subplots and layers about family and friendship, mostly of course the 'unusuasul' friendship between Wyatt Earp and 'Doc' Holliday. Unusual because their characters are some different from each other. The movie even leaves room for the love-story between Wyatt and his lady friend, though it's not as much present in the story as you would perhaps expect and it most certainly does not distract from the movie as a whole.

The storytelling is great and begins from the moment Wyatt tries to settle down after his career as a lawman and the movie ends with the well known confrontation and shootout at the O.K. Corral. Yes, the movie takes lot of liberty with the true story but its all for the good of the movie and its entertainment value. Director John Sturges surely knows how to tell a good story!

It's a very pure western with all of the classic ingredients present; of course gunfights, card games and shootouts. The ending shootout at the O.K. Corral is surprisingly well brought to the screen. It's action packed and really spectacular filmed. It makes the ending very exciting and spectacular as well to watch.

All of the characters are great and it's true that the movie is most definitely uplifted by the performances of the cast. Burt Lancaster is fairly good in the role of Wyatt Earp but the one that steals the show is Kirk Douglas as John 'Doc' Holliday. Also quite fun to see how much the 'young' Kirk Douglas looked like his son Michael. They even sound the same. The movie features an also still very young and hard to recognize Dennis Hopper as Billy Clanton.

The movie its musical score is highly unusual. I mean the theme is actually sung by Frankie Laine! But it fits the movie surprisingly well and knows to capture the mood and atmosphere of the movie. The same goes for the 'normal' musical score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

A very pleasant and greatly told movie from John Sturges, with also memorable performances from the cast.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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