Friday Flickers: My Darling Clementine

Henry Fonda had a bad day yesterday.

Let’s rewind to the Henry Fonda of the silver screen, the supremely gifted actor who frequently exemplified what was noble and virtuous in the American character.

Here are my two favorite scenes from My Darling Clementine, 1946. Fonda, as Wyatt Earp, is the new marshall in Tombstone. As he and his brothers struggle to bring law and order to the frontier, a woman named Clementine, played by the lovely Cathy Downs, comes to town.

Remember, every great movie is, at its core, a love story.

Notice how director John Ford, shooting in his beloved Monument Valley, fuses majesty and intimacy within the same frame.

Note: If any of my readers have been trying to reach me via my gmail account you might be running into problems. It seems that my account has been hijacked and is, I think, being used as a relay for, er, Viagra spam. I have not been able to send any gmail all morning, in spite of changing my password.

I have no idea what’s going on, and so I apologize for the gremlins if you have received spam from me.

If any of my readers can offer advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and peaceful Shabbat.

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17 Comments

  1. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Dirty Dozen: The love and loyalty the men feel for each other.
    I thought of that.
    Death Wish: Bronson wreaks revenge because of love destroyed.
    I thought of that.
    Shavuah tov, Robert, and I hope your hacker problem is striaghtened out. I’m paranoid about hackers and identity theft myself. It took me years to even take out an email box.

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  2. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Miranda:
    All the movies you mention are love stories.
    Zulu: Stanley Baker & Michael Caine. Their relationship follows the exact arc of a typical male-female love story: from contempt to affection.
    Dirty Dozen: The love and loyalty the men feel for each other.
    River Kwai: The love Alec Guiness feels for British honor.
    Death Wish: Bronson wreaks revenge because of love destroyed.

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  3. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Mordechai:
    Thanks so much for the valuable links. My problem has, at last, been resolved.

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  4. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Morgan:
    I agree with you. Fonda, like all of us, was a flawed human being. The reason I put up this post was to balance out the negative post of the previous day.

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  5. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Earl:
    I’m with you. Clementine is one of my favorite John Ford movies.

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  6. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Exdem:
    I’ll check into it. Thanks for the tip.

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  7. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Bill:
    The tension we feel as we wait for him to ask her to dance exactly mirrors the tension she feels. That’s why the scene works so well; we identify with the characters. We have all been there in one way or the other.

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  8. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    PD:
    Yes, the preacher is great! The actor, I forget his name, was a very great character actor.

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  9. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Schiller: I changed my password to my gmail box, even though I have no reason to suspect I’ve been hackered.

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  10. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Remember, every great movie is, at its core, a love story.
    It can also be a war story: ZULU; THE DIRTY DOZEN; THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
    It can be a hate story: DEATHWISH.
    It can be a love/hate story: BEN-HUR.

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  11. Posted August 1, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Robert,
    You’re not alone with the Gmail problem. See http://www.switched.com/2010/04/22/hacked-gmail-accounts-hawking-viagra/
    Wyatt Earp isn’t available to clean up the town, so you might try doing it yourself, starting here:
    http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/detecting-suspicious-account-activity.html
    You might also want to join WOT http://www.mywot.com/ to keep you off nasty websites.
    Good luck!
    Mordechai

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  12. Posted August 1, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Fine film; I may be wrong, but it looked to me like Henry Fonda set the standard for future portrayals of Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine.
    As for Fonda losing it, that was one moment where we’re all reminded he was human like all of us, and as such, just as capable of doing stupid things. It doesn’t and shouldn’t negate the good things about him, especially his talents as an actor.

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  13. Posted July 31, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful movie! I watched it just two weeks ago. The photography is magnificent.

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  14. Bill Brandt
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Robert – I have become at least conversant with classic movies, having watched (adding to a list) Easter Parade with Judy Garland, Fred Astair and Ann Miller today.
    In observing your Fonda clip today and in watching so many classic movies – the thought came to me that a difference between so many of the older movies and the current ones is audience engagement.
    By that I mean the audience becomes emotionally involved with the actions of the characters. The characters draw in the audience.
    In most of the current movies the audience is just a spectator.
    I’m watching the Fonda clip and wondering if he is going to ask her to dance – and he finally does.
    I’m wondering in the Easter Parade if Astair’s and Garland’s characters will get together as Lawford’s and Miller’s characters.
    I don’t think you get much of that with contemporary movies.

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  15. exdemexlib
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    “…If any of my readers have been trying to reach me via my gmail account you might be running into problems. It seems that my account has been hijacked…”
    Try a hushmail account,
    secure, spam-filtered, and non-hijackable.

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  16. bill brandt
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I was wondering when he was going to ask her to dance!

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  17. pdwalker
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Nice.
    i liked the “Preacher”

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