1957, classic Western. Some how I got thru the 50's without seeing it in theaters. So while surfing Netflix for something to watch, I clicked on it. It's got Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday. Douglas does the gambler/gunfighter role beautifully. His suits are well tailored and pressed, he drinks too much, he mistreats his long suffering mistress. Lancaster's role is plainer, he is just the principled lawman.
Then it has DeForrest Kelly in a bit part. He isn't on screen very long before a Clanton shoots him dead. And we have Dennis Hopper as the youngest Clanton brother. Burt Lancaster tries to talk him into giving over his gun, but he makes a sudden move and Kirk Douglas shoots him dead. Both of these guys will have much better roles in coming years.
It's long. 2 1/2 hours. And somehow in all that screen time, the director fails to really show why the Earps, lawmen all, band together to shoot down the Clantons. Yes, the Clantons shoot some friends, and relatives of Wyatt's but the film doesn't really blacken the Clanton's rep and it doesn't really show why high principled Wyatt Earp gets into extra judicial killings. And there are some scenes missing. After Morgan Earp gets gunned down in the street, we don't see the funeral, with weeping friends and relatives, and we don't see Wyatt Earp with tears running down his cheeks swearing eternal vengeance on the Clantons. In short, the director doesn't show motives and emotions behind the central conflict.
Sets and costumes were first rate, nice score, a theme song and all. The various western towns all had one helova lotta giant cactus growing on every street corner. But now that I've seen, I can say I didn't really miss much by not seeing it in the '50s.