Time: 122 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.
SYNOPSIS: After the long career of lawman that made him a legend, Wyatt Earp deciedes to quit and join his brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. There he would see them in feud with Clantons, local clan of thugs and cattle thieves. When the showdown becomes inevitable, the help will come from Doc Holliday, terminally-ill gambler who happens to be another Wild West legend.
BOTTOM LINE: More "soap opera" than action adventure, this version of the infamous gun battle between the Earps and the Clantons is rescued from a resting place in Hollywood's Boot Hill by two things: the charmingly bitter performance of Kirk Douglas as outlaw Doc Holliday and the final shootout sequence, which gives the film its' only spark of real excitement. The film opens at the end of Wyatt Earp's (Lancaster) distinguished career. He's a legend across the West for his skill with a gun and his unyielding nature when it comes to those who try to break the law. His decision to retire is sped along by the presence of Laura Denbow (Fleming), a young woman with a pretty face and a whole lot of luck at the poker table. The trouble notorious gambler Doc Holliday brings only reaffirms his decision.
Wyatt is disgusted by Doc's lifestyle and lack of conscience, but he's not about to let him be stabbed in the back either. After Doc returns the favor by saving Wyatt's life, an unlikely friendship is born. A letter from his brother, the sheriff of Tombstone, places Wyatt and Laura's fairy tale ending on hold. Family and justice come first. Wyatt hasn't spent his whole life fighting the bad guys to let them win now. With neither side willing to budge the Clantons want to move their illegal cattle through town, the Earps won't let them the stage is set for a fire fight to the death. All of this would be exciting if it weren't for all the talking, yelling and pleading that goes on for 1 1/2 hours before it. Lancaster and Douglas create characters that are both human and heroic. Their performances are the only things that save the hackneyed script from being completely ridiculous. A well-acted western that's occasionally entertaining, though not exactly memorable.