- So in 1993 and 1994 there was a bit of a war between Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. Costner was once attached the Tombstone film, parted ways after artistic differences and decided to make his own (he’s a clear fan of the western genre with this Dances With Wolves, Open Range). The two films were shot near the same time, same area. Tombstone is superior and it came out first. It is, and was viewed as, the more enjoyable of the two while this is bloated (3+ hours and big budget) and has an air of superiority to it that rubbed many critics/audiences the wrong way. However, divorced from that rivalry decades later- it is a very fine film and squeaks its way into the archives
- Opens on a shot of Costner’s (Earp) back mostly in silhouette as he’s facing the saloon doors. A beautiful frame. Then flashes back to tell the story of his life.
Opens on a shot of Costner’s (Earp) back mostly in silhouette as he’s facing the saloon doors. A beautiful frame. Then flashes back to tell the story of his life.
- This is no major achievement for Lawrence Kasdan- especially with the talent level of the cast (the cast has everyone from Gene Hackman to Tom Sizemore, Michael Madsen, Dennis Quaid, Bill Pullman and others) and budget but I do like his use of the blue day for night in several occasions (including the shot at 70 min—landscape with the cattle) with DP Owen Roizman (French Connection, Exorcist, Network and nominated here)
- A big sweeping score, buffalo on the plain- hard not to think of Dances With Wolves just four years before
- Kasdan pulls back the camera nicely in several shots or elevates it. Inspired by epics like Gone With the Wind– this is the moment where Earp first puts on the tin star.
- The first time he kisses his first wife and Josie- Kasdan pauses and has a very nice could-hang-on-a-wall frame
- 191 minutes but it never drags for too long in one spot
- Costner himself is part of the problem—he isn’t great here. It is an entirely humorless performance (he’d have another one with another financial disaster in 1995 – Waterworld). This was when he was just about the biggest star in the world. But if you look at his brand, how his star was built, and where his talents are—he’s funny in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and Dances With Wolves. He’s nowhere near as good playing the hard-hitting lawman as Kurt Russell was the year before and forget about comparing the poor Dennis Quaid to what Val Kilmer just did with the Doc Holliday role the year before—this is a tough beat for Quaid.
Costner himself is part of the problem—he isn’t great here
- Kasdan is no Peckinpah but it is hard not to enjoy the four of them dressed in black heading for the OK Corral
Kasdan is no Peckinpah (if we want to talk about scenes of four men marching to a gun fight) but it is hard not to enjoy the four of them dressed in black heading for the OK Corral
- Recommend but not in the top 10 or near it for 1994- a fringe recommendation