Saturday, 29 July 2017
LAW AND ORDER (1932) Directed by Edward L.Cahn,
My second Edward L. Cahn film seen recently and, as a fan of films about Wyatt Earp, one I've wanted to see for years. And, for once, the wait was worth it. The names may have been changed but this is the familiar story told before of the Earp Brothers feud with the Clantons, culminating in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The Earps become the Johnsons, the Clantons become the Northrups and shotgun carrying Doc Holliday becomes a gambler called Brandt. The most likely reason for the name changes is that the film was made only three years after Wyatt Earp's death and his widow was, notoriously, ready to sue anybody who looked like besmirching her late hubby's name. The film is based on a novel by W.R.Burnett and tells how Frame "Saint" Johnson (Walter Huston), his brother Luther and two friends, one of whom is gambler, Brandt (Harry Carey) clean up Tombstone. As such the film parallels later films such as Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE and Sturges THE GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K.CORRAL. The tone of the film is realistic and refreshingly adult compared to most Westerns of the period and although acting styles have changed it still makes compulsive viewing. The supporting cast includes Russell Simpson (who was also in John Ford's version), a young Andy Devine and an uncredited Walter Brennan (also in the Ford film).