MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
1946, 20th Century Fox, 97 min, USA, Dir: John Ford

John Ford directs one of the most beautiful, melancholic, lyrical Westerns ever made, painting an atmospheric interpretation of Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda), the Earp siblings (Ward Bond, Tim Holt), Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) and their escalating feud with the cattle-rustling Clanton family (Walter Brennan, John Ireland and Grant Withers). Although Ford hews closer to the legend than to the cold hard facts (especially with the fictionalized female characters, Cathy Downs as Clementine and Linda Darnell as Chihuahua), that is, in large part, the point of the film - an elegiac vision of a heroic age when almost-mythological personalities walked the earth as real, flesh-and-blood people. Poignant, exhilarating and gorgeous from beginning to end.


SAMSON AND DELILAH
1949, Paramount, 131 min, USA, Dir: Cecil B. DeMille

No one brought the Bible to the big screen with more gusto than director Cecil B. DeMille, who initially tried to adapt the tragic love story of the strongman and his Philistine temptress in the mid-1930s. Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr smolder in the title roles, with strong support from George Sanders, Angela Lansbury and Henry Wilcoxon. A huge box office hit, this Technicolor epic picked up Oscars for Best Art Direction and Costume Design.


CRY OF THE CITY
1948, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

Perhaps the best realized of director Robert Siodmak’s films noir indelibly relates the enduring theme (based on Henry Helseth’s novel The Chair for Martin Rome) of neighborhood pals who tread divergent courses. Victor Mature becomes a lawman, Richard Conte goes crooked. The two square off all across Manhattan with tragic results. Siodmak eschewed the semi-documentary style then in vogue at Fox creating instead a vivid, Expressionistic urban landscape that ideally suited this mythic mid-20th-century tale of good and evil. Co-starring Shelley Winters, Fred Clark and that Amazonian nightmare, Hope Emerson.


Syndicate content