The Film Analysis Of Ford's Romantic Action Western Film

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The film is beautifully shot in black and white, using Ford’s trademark of great depth of field that visually displays the stunning geography, combined with chiaroscuro lighting by cinematographer Joseph MacDonald and edited by Dorothy Spencer. The film has a wonderful film noir quality, moody, and dramatic night shots. By dawn, the camera captures the magnificent desert landscape that seems tailored made for Ford’s romantic action western film. Enhanced by the musical direction by Alfred Newman and music score by Cyril Mockridge and (uncredited) David Buttolph blends well into each scene. Ford “worked in many genres over a long career and he won six Oscars - including two that he won for his World War II documentary work - but he is best…show more content…
“Henry Fonda is considered one of Hollywood’s old-time legends and was friend and contemporary of James Stewart and John Ford” (IMDb, bio). “At the center of the film is Henry Fonda’s performance as Wyatt Earp“ (Ebert 306). He is usually shown as a mild, calm, quick-witted man who dispenses the law and order with or without a gun. Fonda marvelously portrays Wyatt Earp with ease; he becomes the new marshal in Tombstone, Arizona. A wayward town boasting to have the largest cemetery west of Colorado and a reputation of lawlessness. Much like Ford’s other excellent western, “in Stagecoach we are seduced by the excitement and personal nobility wrapped up in the American frontier myth” (Roberts & Wallis 107). Earp smoothly maintains the peace in Tombstone and begins to build a romantic rapport with Clementine Carter played by Cathy Downs (1924 - 1976). However, “the most important relationship in the movie is between Earp and Doc Holliday” (Ebert 304) played by stage, film and television actor Victor Mature (1913 - 1999). The character of Holliday is stricken with TB and is slowly dying. Mature excellently plays him as a miserable ex-criminal doctor who gradually likes and respects Earp enough to help him in his fight against the tyranny of the…show more content…
He doesn’t talk much, but instead uses a great deal of body language throughout the film, even though his posture is a bit playful, Earp still manages to display his dogmatic determination, highly legal, and intellectual stance on crime fighting. This particular version of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral is not so much about the deadly conflict to come, but more about the romance with Earp and Clementine. In most of Ford’s western films, they are about principles, patriotism, and the interrelationships his characters have as they have to deal with while living in the outskirts of civilization during the great American Frontier movement of the 1800s. Ford was able to transport his filmgoing audiences into another realm and time period by picturesque images, staging actors in static poses, noble tough characters with morals, and designing worlds dominated by the western lifestyle. Truly a great film and by a director who knew how to translate a time in American history like no

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