Tombstone

Retired…no chance in Tombstone…

kur11I’ve written about this particular movie before…but before you go “argh, not again”, I promise, this time I’ll steer away from Doc Holliday (read that post here) and have a chat about his close friend Wyatt Earp. Naturally, as this is the Kurt Russell Blogathon, I’m taking on the Wyatt as played by ta da…surprise, surprise….Kurt Russell in Tombstone (1993).

The story is roughly this: retired (and “famous”) lawman Wyatt Earp heads to Tombstone for a change in pace together with his two brothers and all their respective wives. En route to his new home, he has his first encounter and we already know that retirement is not going to happen.  And that’s exactly what happens…Wyatt just can’t stand by and watch as laws are broken, people hurt and the town is generally scared by some bullying outlaws, The Cowboys. So he cleans up the town. With loads of conflict along the way.

TombstoneposterKurt Russell is just perfect as Wyatt, well, in this movie i.e. as how he comes across (I did some reading on Mr Earp and boy is there a lot of material about him and his life that I lost track). We feel a genuine friendship between him and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) as well as with his brothers. This, I believe, is only managed by actors who feel some sort of amicable working environment. But, we’re also totally convinced of that underlying toughness required for his former job as a lawman as well as dishing out justice in Tombstone. And, while trying to tell everyone what’s ethical and not, he’s not such an upstanding citizen himself. I guess there’s a lot going on underneath all that ruggedness. But all this won’t come across to the audience unless the right actor is cast. Here, Kurt Russell is absolutely spot on. Handsome, tough, caring, loyal (to certain people), hard as nails, loving, with and without flaws…oh, and he even has a resemblance to the “real” Wyatt Earp from what I could see online. All-in-all, great acting from Kurt Russell in a great movie (but all that would be meaningless if there wasn’t the right cast to support him. One that he wouldn’t overshadow). So, if you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing something…

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Ah…just read that due to some firing of directors or something like that, Kurt Russell actually directed a portion of this film. Whatever the case is, it all turned out pretty darn good in my opinion.

Now head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews here and Return to the 80s here for the other Kurt Russell posts in this Blogathon. Thanks for hosting you two!

Gunslinging Dentist?

Doc Holliday, gunslinger, deputy marshal, gambler and forever connected, through his friendship with Wyatt Earp, to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Before I go on…if you are looking for historical accuracy, you won’t find it here. Just a look at Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). So, where was I?

Oh yes. So…having watched him in Tombstone played by Val Kilmer, you probably know that he was suffering from tuberculosis. You’ll also know that he was an avid gambler (which I believe was a respectable profession back in the day). Doc Holliday, born John Henry Holliday, continues gambling and drinking despite his illness.

oie_yqU5SVcKigzSWhat never fails to amaze me (and, I really admire him for it), is that, no matter how ill he is, he is there for his friend Wyatt. As for Val Kilmer, to me he is the star in this movie portraying the sickly, and later dying, Doc so convincingly. What a fabulous character both externally and internally. A man, who claims he wasn’t as ill as he looked so he could face Johnny Ringo rather than have Wyatt take the risk. Or, who got out there to ride posse and did what needed doing despite feeling dreadful. “I’m in my prime” he proudly announces when Johnny Ringo questions if he has also retired from the law despite his obvious suffering.

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“I’m in my prime”

What I appreciate is that he doesn’t rely on the excuse that he is sick and therefore has no need to put himself out there…quite the contrary, I think he knows his days are numbered and therefore makes sure he puts himself out there. What does he have to lose, after all? I think his last scene emphasises this in that he asks Wyatt to leave before he dies – the Doc Holliday doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable.

But, can you imagine him treating your pearly whites? Didn’t think so. Yes, he was also a dentist, having been admitted to the degree at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He even worked in a dental practice before heading to a warmer climate because of his tuberculosis. While Tombstone doesn’t mention this directly, there is reference to the fact that he is an educated man in the wonderful bar-scene “duel” with him and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn, also fantastic in this role) showing off their Latin and gun-spinning talents.

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Quite an interesting character this Doc Holliday. Isn’t he? And perfect for this Medicine in the Movies Blogathon as he is both a patient and doctor.

As for Tombstone, if you haven’t watched this one, it’s high time you do. A wonderful movie narrated by Robert Mitchum and starring a host of well known actors including Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Booth and many, many more.

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