Everyone remembers what went down at Tombstone, when Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer took part in the Gunfight at the OK Corral, resulting in many a death. That took place on October 26th, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona, so given current technology, it’s only right that a time-travelling documentary crew will go back to that time to film it…
Well, they could if they haven’t arrived in time, as they turned up the following day. Yes, that’s the premise, which made me think: can’t they aim for another return trip?
Given that that’s not an option for this group, their plan B is to interview the survivors instead. Yes, if there’s one thing you can expect from an Alex Cox film, it’s to expect the unexpected. He doesn’t make conventional movies.
To that end, Cox also ‘borrowed’ from the Japanese movie Rashomon, which I wasn’t aware of until now, but it’s on where the tale of history is told from a number of perspectives, and how do you know what’s strictly meant to be the truth?
However, what follows is rather less than the sum of its parts. Any actual ‘action’ is fairly few and far between – and all between the interview chat, as we hear from those who took part in it, trying to work out how and why it all kicked off. Like a lot of things in life, it all comes down to a misunderstanding, but then the gunfight only really took 30 seconds.
There’s a bit of amusement as those involved, such as Wyatt Earp, are asked to pose a certain way such that it looks better on camera for the documentary… but then, overall, while this was an interesting idea, it doesn’t really pay off for me.
As such, I felt a bit disconnected from it all, and left to think that the bars in this Tombstone are the cleanest bars I’ve ever seen. Deadwood and Red Dead Redemption 2, this is not.
All that said, what I’d really like to see – as would a lot of film fans – is a return for Alex Cox’s Moviedrome, a BBC2 series which ran from 1988 to 1992, and in which Mr Cox would introduce a cult film each week. Sadly, back then, a lot of films made in the widescreen ratio at, or around, 2.35:1, would get cropped to 16:9 (Manhunter being a case in point that I remember) because BBC bosses were thick as Mr Wu’s pigswill in Deadwood, but thankfully, after lots of campaining from fans like myself (unless it was just me, and the BBC got sick of hearing from me!), they’ve mostly relented, and most new HD prints are actually in the correct ratio. Channel 4 can also usually be relied upon. However, ITV and Channel 5 are often uncultured morons in this respect.
Tombstone Rashomon is now available to buy in the US from Amazon on DVD, so you can import it into the UK if you have a multiregion player. In the US, it’s also available on a number of video on-demand sites.
You can also buy the Main theme by XIXA, from Amazon.
Cert: Not Rated
Running time: 83 minutes
Release date: US: April 21st 2020; UK: TBA
Studio: TriCoast Worldwide
Format: 1.85:1 (interview scenes), 2.35:1 (gunfight scenes)
Director: Alex Cox
Producer: Alex Cox
Screenplay: Alex Cox
Music: Dan Wool
Wyatt Earp: Adam Newberry
Johnny Behan: Jesse Lee Pacheco
Kate Haroney: Christine Doidge
Doc Holliday: Eric Schumacher
Ike Clanton: Benny Lee Kennedy
Col. Hafford: Richard Anderson
Virgil Earp: Jason Graham
Morgan Earp: Shayn Herndon
Allie Earp: Michele Bauer
Frank McLaury: Haydn Winston
Tom McLaury: Bradford Trojan
Billy Clanton: James Miller
Mattie Earp: Callie Hutchison
Billy Claiborne: Rogelio Camarillo
Mollie Fly: Brenda Jean Foley
Ned Boyle: Frank Gonzalez
William B Murray: Wade Everett
CS Fly: Pablo Kjolseth
Charles Shibell: Geoff Marslett
Bill Leonard: Merritt Crocker
Albert Behan: Carlos Abdalla
William Baron (Barber): Oz
Keefe: Frank Baden
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.