This rootin' tootin' Blu-ray offers up a double-dose of Wyatt Earp
Former lawman Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) takes up the mantle of sheriff in the town of Tombstone in an effort to bring his youngest brother's killers to justice. Along the way he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Doc Holliday (Victor Mature), the gambler who runs the town, and falls in love with Clementine (Cathy Downs), one of Doc's former girlfriends who has come looking for him.
While John Ford's 1946 film may not be the most historically accurate version of the Wyatt Earp story you'll ever see, it is by far the most enjoyable. Most other filmmakers focus almost entirely on the build up to the shootout at the O.K. Corral to the exclusion of all else, but Ford almost seems to forget about the Clantons until the final showdown, giving his movie over to Earp's relationships with Holliday and Clementine. In this way, Ford gives us a rich, sweet and witty film that manages to delight and surprise fans of the genre while also serving as the perfect introduction for those who have resisted the lure of the Wild West until now.
Picture: Created from a 4K scan of a 35mm nitrate composite fine grain element, John Ford's classic Western rides on to Blu-ray with a stunning AVC 1.37:1 Full HD encode that belies the fact that the film will be celebrating its 70th birthday next year. Clarity and definition both impress given the age of the material, and while there are some minor fluctuations in contrast levels, on the whole image stability is very good and film grain is finely resolved.
Picture rating: 4/5
Audio: The LPCM mono mix sounds perfectly fine. Dialogue and music both show reasonable range and – as with the imagery – the painstaking clean-up job has left it free from background hiss and other age-related imperfections.
Audio rating: 3.5/5
Extras: Alongside the original 97-minute cut of the movie, this Limited Edition's first platter also houses an audio commentary by author Scott Eyman and Wyatt Earp III; an hour-long documentary about John Ford's bond with Monument Valley; a 63-minute episode of Channel 4's Movie Masterclass about the film from 1988; an 18-minute visual essay; a stills gallery and the trailer.
The second disc not only includes a 103-minute reconstruction of the Pre-Release version of My Darling Clementine, but also a restored version of the 1939 Wyatt Earp film Frontier Marshal (pictured below), which covers similar territory, albeit in an even more romanticised manner.
Also included are a 42-minute video examining the differences in the Pre-Release version, two Wyatt Earp radio dramas and a stills gallery and trailer for Frontier Marshal.
Extras rating: 5/5
We say: A must-own Blu-ray for fans of John Ford's classic Western
My Darling Clementine: Limited Edition, Arrow Academy, Region B BD & R2 DVD, £25 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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