For reasons, I have been considering characters who appear in multiple films and the different ways they are portrayed. I think this may come from having seen like a million films about Ip Man. But the other day I was considering Wyatt Earp and John Henry “Doc” Holliday.
I’m not saying these two have been played more times than any two other historical characters, but they must have one of the weirdest spreads of actors to go with their almost total dissociation from history.
Actually, that’s not totally true. Wyatt Earp is almost always played as a sort of restrained example of frontier manhood. Go down the list: Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Bruce Boxleitner(!), Harris Yulin (I guess that’s kind of an exception), Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda, Randolph Scott. I mean, some are a bit more rugged and some are a bit more civilised, but they’re all at some fundamental level people you would credit as cowboy actors.
But Holliday … Holliday is fucking weird. In the same film order: Dennis Quaid, Val Kilmer, Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale from The Walking Dead), Stacey Keach, Kirk Douglas, Victor Mature, and Cesar Romero.
Cesar Romero! He looked good, too.
That’s kind of weird, isn’t it, how you could drop Romero into Tombstone and he would look perfectly at home, but Randolph Scott just looks like nothing so much as Randolph Scott? Perhaps my thesis needs to be reevaluated.
In other news, I’m back, and this is the kind of top-tier content you can look forward to this spring. My history/Doctor Who podcast, Pledge Break, is also back with a new episode about everybody’s favourite, Pyramids of Mars.