Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Darling Clementine

'My Darling Clementine' is not perfect. John Ford didn't finish his edit, one of the characters is named 'Chihuahua,' and the always aggravating Victor Mature in a main role, but the overall effect is really good.
Tipping it into classic status is Walter Brennan's performance as the profoundly amoral, bestial and depraved Pa Clanton. No bad guy has ever approached such complete villainy. Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter aren't a patch on Pa Clanton with their misguided loyalties and effete savoir-faire. Henry Fonda was probably channeling Brennan while he performed in 'Once Upon a Time in the West': as bad as Frank is, Pa Clanton makes him look like a mere victim of a difficult childhood with parental issues to process. Sauron could learn a few things about ruthlessness from Pa Clanton. At least the Old Testament God didn't let Abraham sacrifice Isaac. Pa Clanton is not subject to such lily-livered distractions.

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