Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: the title episode is one of the most famous stories of the Old West and this particular John Sturges’ version (who has another one that is darker, more unusual; they form a nice, opposing pair of entertaining Westerns) focus mostly on the friendship between the famous two men at the center of it all. In that sense, the movie star wattage for those two characters is spot-on: Burt Lancaster doesn’t fare great, as he has to tone down his charm and mischievous smile to play the lawman, but he has a properly imposing figure; meanwhile, Kirk Douglas is quite good as the tragic gambler, even if he looks too healthy. The film lacks a good, strong villain, but it does fine with female characters; Jo Van Fleet is good as the oft-spurned lover, while Rhonda Fleming is OK as a credible romantic interest. The work of art directors Hal Pereira and Walter H. Tyler, as well as costume designer Edith Head, assure this is a good-looking film. Composer Dimitri Tiomkin’s score revolves around the memorable song named after the film itself, and it’s rousing.
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