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Cowboy Up

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 26, 2005 12:52PM

The water bottles and beer cans have all been cleaned up from 2005_07_26_clementine.gifHutchinson Field so Grant Park is ready for the continuation of the Chicago Outdoor Movie Festival with another of Roger Ebert’s favorites: John Ford’s My Darling Clementine. Ebert highlighted this film in one of his Great Movies commentaries. It tells a story (though perhaps not the story) of the events in Tombstone that led to the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral. Its strength lies in its ability to flesh out the relationship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and is “more about everyday things--haircuts, romance, friendship, poker and illness.”

The trouble with making a movie about Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons is that any filmmaker that tackles the subject has to wrestle with both men and myths. Though Ford made his film after hearing the story of the OK Corral straight from Earp’s lips, some Western aficionados considered 1994’s Kurt Russell/Val Kilmer-starring Tombstone to be one of the more accurate attempts at telling the story but even it has its detractors. Other films focusing on the people and events of that time include Tombstone, The Town Too Tough To Die, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and the interminable Kevin Costner vehicle Wyatt Earp.

On the way home tonight, fans of the western can stop in at their local video rental store and pick from a litany of re-released John Wayne films. True Grit, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Rio Lobo, The Shootist, and True Grit are all on the slate today to help publicize the release of some neglected Wayne films next week including Hondo and McClintock!, which will be seen for the first time on DVD in thsi country.