Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Starring – Burt Lancaster (Wyatt Earp), Kirk Douglas (Doc Holliday), Rhonda Fleming (Laura Denbow), Jo Van Fleet (Kate Fisher).
Released – May, 1957
Directed By – John Sturges
Produced By – Wallis-Hazen
Distributed By – Paramount Pictures
Description – Marshall Wyatt Earp is on his way to Fort Griffin, Texas to take outlaws Ike Clanton and Johnny Ringo into custody. Also on his way to Fort Griffin is Ed Bailey who plans on avenging the death of his brother by killing Doc Holliday.
Holliday’s girlfriend Kate Fisher spots Bailey in the bar and tells Doc that he is looking for him. When Doc enters the bar, Bailey tries to shoot him in the back only to be killed by a knife thrown by Holliday.
As for Earp, he finds that the local sheriff has released both Clanton and Ringo, even though the marshall has outstanding warrants for the pair. The local sheriff has no intention of helping Earp as he holds a grudge against Wyatt’s brother Morgan.
Holliday is arrested for the murder of Ed Bailey even though his acts were in self-defense. With this in mind, Earp and Fisher help Doc to escape an angry lynch mob.
Back in Dodge City, Kansas, Wyatt learns that Doc and Kate have arrived in town. Wyatt has no problem with the notorious Holliday providing he stay out of trouble. Beautiful gambler Laura Denbow is also in Dodge City and finds herself arrested as women are not allowed to gamble.
She is released by Wyatt, who is attracted to her, and allowed to ply her gambling trade in a side room of the bar.
With his deputies out of town, Wyatt is forced to deputize Doc Holliday after the bank is robbed and the cashier killed. Earp and Holliday avoid an ambush attempt and kill the bank robbers.
Back in Dodge, Doc finds out that girlfriend Kate has been seeing Johnny Ringo. When she tries to come back to Doc, he refuses. She swears she will see him dead. Wyatt and Laura have become increasingly interested in one another when Wyatt receives a letter from his brother Virgil asking him to come to Tombstone, Arizona to help with a problem.
In Tombstone, Wyatt meets with his brothers Virgil, Morgan, and James to discuss how to handle the trouble being made by the Clanton family who have stolen thousands of head of Mexican cattle.
After the Clanton’s kill young James Earp, the stage is set for the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
NOTABLE: Burt Lancaster agreed to do this film as long as he could star in The Rainmaker (1956), also produced by Hal B. Wallis.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was the second of seven films that Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster made together.
The actual gunfight took place on 26 October 1881 and lasted a mere 30 seconds, resulting in three dead men after an exchange of 34 bullets. The fictionalized gunfight in this movie took 4 days to film and produced an on-screen bloodbath that lasted 5 minutes.
John Ireland (Johnny Ringo) appeared in another dramatization of these events (My Darling Clementine) playing Billy Clanton.
The song “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” was chosen as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time by Members of the Western Writers of America
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” edited by Steven Schneider.