Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Doc" is Shot Full of Holes

Cleveland Press September 9, 1971

It may even be a movie for people who don't like movies. It's the kind of picture that drives folks out of the theater instead of luring them in.

"Doc" is the old Doc Holliday-Wyatt Earp story climaxing with the gunfight at the OK Corral. The makers choose to debunk the story, which is all right, but they also foist upon it a lot of philosophical clap-trap which only makes for a dull and pretentious movie.

There have been psychological westerns and political westerns and method-acting westerns, but "Doc" is the only one to combine all three.

Doc Holliday (Stacy Keach) is a consumptive who finds solace in opium -- a legendary gunfighter who hates his dime novel reputation.

Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin) is a tinhorn politician who likes to pistol-whip people. He's a marshall who plans to run for sheriff with Holliday's help, Doc getting the gambling concession if Earp wins.

Earp has a couple of brothers, and politically he's aiming high. He frames the Clanton gang, forces a shootout with them and when one of the Earp boys is killed turns to the crowd and gives them a "he-will-not-have-died-in-vain" type speech. Oh, golly.

Then there's Kate Elder (Faye Dunaway), a begrimed prostitute whom Doc wins in a hand of poker. She almost domesticates Doc. Otherwise she keeps smiling with a gold tooth showing and talking rough-like, as when she graphically describes the manifestations of a digestive disorder that occurs when she eats beans.

When Earp and Holliday aren't talking to each other they pause and stare. There are as many pauses as there are words. One thing a western can do without is pauses.

The movie was produced and directed by Frank Perry of "David and Lisa" fame. The picture is billed as "a film by Frank Perry," a kind of pretentiousness used by a few European directors.

The film has a rotogravure quality in appearance -- which is hardly enough to recommend it.


Short Subjects: The Severance and Beachcliff theaters will begin a Greta Garbo film festival next Wednesday. The schedule has "Grand Hotel" and "Anna Christie," Sept. 15 to 19; "Mata Hari" and "Ninotchka," Sept. 20 to 23; "Camille" and "Anna Karenina," Sept. 24 to 28.

The movies being shown at the May Co.'s Fabulous Flicks series next week and the week after are free, but tickets are needed. The no-cost tickets are available at the service centers of all May Co. stores. Seating is limited. The showings are in the downtown store auditorium.