Gunfight at OK Corral
John Sturges' retelling of the Tombstone legend strays from known fact but never fails to entertain. Wyatt Earp (Burt Lancaster) is the famous Dodge City lawman and friend to one time dentist and card sharp Doc Holliday (Kirk Douglas). The two combine to bring law and order to Dodge City then Tombstone. A strong bind is forged between Wyatt and Doc. By the end of the film, Holliday's affection for Earp comes before his relationship with Kate Fisher (Jo Van Fleet). Holliday will do anything and go anywhere for Earp. This loyalty and devotion takes Holliday to Arizona with Wyatt to assist other Earp lawman in the taming of Tombstone.
Sturges puts much effort into developing the complex relationship between between Doc and Earp. Subtle nuances hint that Doc may feel more than affection for the lawman. Whatever the case, Wyatt's love is for Laura Denbow (Rhonda Fleming).
The first half of the film is spent developing the Earp and Holliday characters. The two then travel to Tombstone to confront the cattle rustling Clanton clan. The two, with their fancy dress and educated manner, represent coming civilization. They confront the agrarian, rural South in a battle of new versus old, law verses lawlessness.
The photography is, at times, magnificent. Shots of sweeping hills covered in prairie grass and crude fence lines are beautiful. Other scenes are clearly shot within a studio. No matter, the film never pretends to be authentic. It is simply Sturges' spinning of a famous Western legend. While not as good as another telling of the same story, My Darling Clementine, The Gunfight at OK Corral is a solid Must See with a classic soundtrack by Dimitri Tiomkin and theme song by Frankie Lane.
Director: John Sturges
Screenwriter: Leon Uris from a George Scullin
Cast: Burt Lancaster....Wyatt Earp
Kirk Douglas....Dr. John 'Doc' Holliday
Rhonda Fleming...Laura Denbow
Jo Van Fleet... Kate Fisher
John Ireland ...Johnny Ringo
Lyle Bettger ... Ike Clanton
Frank Faylen .... Cotton Wilson
Earl Holliman .... Charles Bassett
Ted de Corsia .... Shanghai Pierce
Dennis Hopper .... Billy Clanton
Whit Bissell .... John P. Clum
George Mathews .... John Shanssey
John Hudson .... Virgil Earp
DeForest Kelley .... Morgan Earp
Martin Milner .... James 'Jimmy' Earp
Date: 1957 122 mins.
Theme Song: Gunfight at OK Corral, Frankie Laine