Wednesday, May 24, 2017

'Doc' (1971)

Director: Frank Perry

Writer: Pete Hamill

Composer: Jimmy Webb

Starring: Stacy Keach, Faye Dunaway, Harris Yulin, Michael Witney, Denver John Collins, Dan Greenburg, John Scanlon, Richard McKenzie, John Bottoms, Philip Shafer, Ferdinand Zogbaum, Penelope Allen, Hedy Sontag

More info: IMDb

Tagline: There has never been a Western like "Doc"

Plot: One night of 1881, Doc Holliday, a famous poker gambler, enters the 'No Name Saloon'. There, he challenges a man to poker, betting his horse against his opponent's wife. Doc wins and from now on, Katie Fisher, also known as Katie Elder, will follow him wherever he goes. Their next destination is Tombstone, where the law is represented by Sheriff Wyatt Earp. When they arrive, the election campaign is in full swing. Earp runs for candidate but the Clantons, a family gang of outlaw cowboys, are not among his keenest supporters. Conflict erupts following the failure of some shadowy bargaining and Doc decides to join Wyatt and his brothers. The four of them gather at the O.K. Corral where the seven Clanton brothers are waiting for them.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

For me, this story never gets old.  This take gives Stacy Keach a chance to shine and he does a fine job.  The cast does a good job as well.  The movie is called DOC so it's only fair to know that it focuses mostly on him with Katie (Dunaway) and Wyatt (Yulin) not too far behind.  I found the movie slow.  A surprising lack of music in a lot of scenes adds to the dreariness.  This take on the legendary men lingers on the drama but it is far too leisurely paced for me.  It's a bleak film with a bleak ending (which I liked a lot) that culminates in the famous gun battle.  This isn't the glamorous, exciting, romanticized exploits of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday.  It's far from it.  The cynical seventies are taking shape.  Life isn't always fun, people die and it's boring sometimes...just like this movie.  But the, what scenery!

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