Saturday, November 10, 2007


Back from a business trip, I usually settle into updating my Quicken accounts (great tool, though I am examining its competitors). As I settled in this morning, I looked for some background entertainment and found American Movie Channel showing "My Darling Clementine".

So many great John Ford films are about the conflict between the old wild west and the encroaching civilization. This film embodies that battle brilliantly. Most of the characters are caught in the middle, including Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda). And there are characters on both sides - Walter Brennan a stunning old man Clanton as a wild man, and Cathy Downs as the perfect civilized schoolteacher Clementine. For me, this film is Victor Mature's - as Doc Holliday, educated as a doctor but best known as a gunfighter, trapped in the middle, also in the middle of his love for Clementine and Chihuahua. Is there a better recitation of Hamlet's to be or not to be soliloquy than Alan Mowbray starting it in the saloon and having it finished by Mature? I know none, and have seen many. It is one of the few I have seen that makes me understand what Shakespeare was saying. And Doc's squelching of the hecklers is the perfect reflection of his violent reputation, the contrast to his education.

John Ford was no fool and clearly thought a lot about the world.

I particularly loved one exchange in the film:

Mac, have you ever been in love?

No, I've been a bartender all my life.

Post-modern behaviour precedes so-called postmodernism by many years.

Another small point. One of my most magic business trips involved a flight whose route wound up having to go over Monument Valley. Sheer magic.


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