Famous Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp may have been lucky enough to survive into the Hollywood era and tell his tale, but whether the famous OK Corral showdown was quite the heroic clash between goodies and baddies that he liked to make out is disputable.
Still, it makes a cracking story and, with all due respect to John Ford’s My Darling Clementine, this classic ‘50s version from John Sturges is the most effective telling of it. Burt Lancaster as Wyatt and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday strike sardonic sparks off each other, plus there’s colourful support from a rich cast: John Ireland, Jo Van Fleet, Rhonda Fleming, Lee Van Cleef and a young Dennis Hopper. Leon Uris’ script slows things down a little... until the gunplay starts and Sturges’ pacing and whipcrack editing build to one of the all-time great Western shootouts. You may get a little weary of Frankie Laine’s endlessly recurring title ballad, though.