Have you seen the films that portray you? What portrayals do you most favour?
There is a little of me in each of the films.
People like Tombstone
best. It was a film written as if it had been made for me – not the way it was, but the way I would have liked it to have been. It glosses my errors and eliminates my weaknesses of character. I kill Johnny and Wyatt visits me in Glenwood Springs and I bless him and Josie. There is no bitterness about Iron Springs. The whole matter of the causes of the gunfight, the rumours, and Billy Leonard are ignored. I am painted as light – loveable if reckless, merry if sarcastic. I was neither. I was nervous, with pain, fear, hate and iron will. I was a better gentleman, a worse friend, a more committed citizen, and a more depressive invalid than anything hinted at in this film. And I worked harder and believed in principles it never intimated. All it shows is my façade and my loyalty.
shows me best as I see myself, when I look sternly and as objectively as I may. It shows my love and jealousy – the way I was with my friends, which is what always meant the most to me; which brought me all my personal joy and self-destruction. It shows my cool competence and my secrecy and vengeance. It shows the way others, the indifferent members of ‘good’ townspeople regarded and treated me. But it, unlike Tombstone, fails to show my good qualities. I was
studious, religious, and dedicated. Furthermore, I was always gentle with Ladies, square with Gentlemen, and my manners were at all times impeccable.Wyatt Earp
was more balanced. It showed Wyatt and I, though he never would have thrust a delicate consumptive into a horse trough. And I never beat Kate. It showed my compassion and pain, how I struggled and failed and succeeded, how I was noble and broken. But again, it did not show my citizenship. Perhaps I like this one best.Hour of the Gun
with Jason Robards showed my independence and a certain amount of my helplessness. It showed Wyatt in a poor light, and portrayed me as much older than I ever became. It also showed me giving up, which I never did.Doc
with Stacey Keach was filmed with an aura of dirt, stolidness and brutality that I never possessed nor would have countenanced. It does have Kate with Johhny Ringo, which both amuses me and angers me still.Gunfight at the OK Corral
with Kirk Douglas nicely showed my detachment from people, yet how I valued those few in whom I found worth.My Darling Clementine
had nothing of me in it.