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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Westerns have been a popular theme in the history of the United States, and there have been many many movies and books on the same theme. There have been many famous figures and incidents in the history of the Westerns in the US, with the most prominent being characters such as Wyatt Earp, Doc Halliday, both of whom took part in a real life incident that took place in the town of Tombstone in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. The town of Tombstone was founded in 1879, while the actual incident took place on October 26, 1881 (read about the shootout at Wikipedia).

The movie was directed by John Sturges, and was written based on a screenplay by the famous author Leon Uris, and was released in 1957. The movie was nominated for 2 academy awards for the Sound and Editing categories, but did not win anything. It starred some of the big stars of that era such as Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday. The movie looks at the lives of these 2 pivotal characters of Marshall Wyatt Earp and his companion, the famous gun fighter Doc Holliday (who was very sickly at that point of time), and builds up to the battle they had with the rival Clanton gang. The movie details the friendship between two, starting when Earp helps Doc Holliday escape from a tricky situation.
The movie portrays Doc Holliday as a larger than life person, a person who has a strong sense of honor, and yet is driven by his own private demons, something that makes him struggle and leads a tortured life; his portrayal by Kirk Douglas threatened to steal the show out from under Lancaster's portrayal of Earp. The actual scene of course is always dramatized, and many aspects of it is inaccurate.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, movie released in 1957, starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday

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