Frontier Marshal is a 1939 western film
starring Randolph Scott as Wyatt Earp.
It is the second film produced by Sol M. Wurtzel based on Stuart N. Lake's
highly fictionalized account of Earp, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal.
An earlier version was Wurtzel's Frontier Marshal, filmed in 1934.
A later version of the story was filmed by John Ford in 1946,
My Darling Clementine, which included whole scenes reshot
from the 1939 film.
Frontier Marshal co-stars Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero as "Doc Halliday"
(the name was changed for the film from the original "Holliday"),
John Carradine, and Lon Chaney, Jr..
Ward Bond appears as the town marshal; Bond was also in the 1934 version,
and later appears as Morgan Earp in Ford's film.
Frontier Marshal was directed by Alan Dwan.
Genesis of My Darling Clementine, 25 March 2004
Author: rsyung from United States
What's most interesting about Frontier Marshal is the fact that it is clearly the genesis of My Darling Clementine, directed by John Ford seven years later. It is hard to view this movie without automatically thinking of the parallel scenes in MDC, and Ford's film draws heavily on the inter-relationships of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Sarah(Clementine in Ford's film) and the saloon girl, Jerry(Chihuahua). Other scenes are reworked into Ford's film as well…the disarming of the drunken Indian, dunking of the saloon girl into the trough, Doc Holliday attempting to redeem himself by performing surgery on a gunshot victim(in this case, the son of the Mexican bartender(in Ford's film, it was Chihuahua, Doc's `girl'), and a wandering theatric (a comic here, a Shakespearian thespian in MDC). This film is much slighter, with fewer themes and subtexts than Ford's and concentrates mostly on the relationship between Earp and Holliday and Holliday's redemption at the end. It plays out like a programmer, running a mere 71 minutes, so granted there isn't much time to devote to anything else. The themes of chaos versus order, civilization versus wilderness are only hinted at, and Randolph Scott is adequate as Wyatt Earp but without the underlying vulnerability(and humor) of Fonda's performance. The same might be said of Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday (for some reason changed to Halliday). He doesn't have the depth of Victor Mature's tortured Doc, in what was perhaps his best performance in any film, but the same self-destructive streak is evident as he attempts to drink himself to death, only to be stopped by Earp. Clearly, MDC was the more thought provoking of the two, but it cannot be denied that without Frontier Marshal, there would have been no MDC, or at least the one I consider a true western classic. What a quirk of fate that Ward Bond is in both films--the ineffective town marshal here, and later promoted to the role of Morgan Earp in Ford's version.