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Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral(1957)


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In August 1954, Hollywood Reporter reported that producer Hal Wallis had purchased the film rights to George Scullin's article "The Killer," which outlined the relationship between historical Western figures Wyatt Earp and John "Doc" Holliday. Although various articles list Stuart Lake's 1931 book Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshall as an additional source text for Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the book is not credited in the SAB or any contemporary reviews. Hollywood Reporter reported in January 1955 that Wallis was hoping to cast Burt Lancaster and Humphrey Bogart in the lead roles. In February 1955, Los Angeles Times reported that Barbara Stanwyck was likely to assume one the female leads in the film.
       According to the file on the film in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library, portions of the film were shot on location at the Empire Ranch in Tucson, AZ, as well as Phoenix, AZ. New York Herald Tribune reported that the Texas sequences in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral were filmed in Tucson, while the Kansas sequences were filmed near Phoenix. The Arizona sequences were filmed at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood, CA, although Los Angeles Mirror-News states that the gunfight itself was shot in Tucscon. Hollywood Reporter news items include Myna Lundeen in the cast, but her appearance in the released film had not been confirmed. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral received two Academy Award nominations: Best Editing (Warren Low) and Best Sound Recording (George Dutton and the Paramount sound department).
       According to modern sources, when Burt Lancaster read in Hedda Hopper's column that actor William Holden had backed out of the role of "Bill Starbuck" in Hal Wallis' planned production of N. Richard Nash's play The Rainmaker (see below), he called the producer and agreed to appear in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral if he also received the title role in The Rainmaker. This film marked Lancaster's final commitment under his contract with Wallis; the two never worked together again. According to modern sources, the film grossed $4,700,000 in U.S. and Canadian rentals upon its initial domestic release. Modern sources add William Norton Bailey and Paul Bradley to the cast and credit Bill Williams as stuntman.
       There have been many screen versions of the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral. For additional information on the gunfight, and the Earp and Clanton families, see the entry for My Darling Clementine in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50. John Ireland, who played Johnny Ringo in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, played Bill Clanton in My Darling Clementine. For additional information about Holliday, please see the entry above for the 1941 Universal film Badlands of Dakota. Director John Sturges filmed a sequel to Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1967. Called Hour of the Gun, it starred James Garner and Jason Robards in the roles previously played by Lancaster and Kirk Douglas and was released by United Artists (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70).