I Married Wyatt Earp

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Based on the memoirs of Josephine Marcus Earp, a young opera singer from San Francisco, this docudrama tells the story of how she became the wife of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp.

ACTORS :  Marie Osmond, Bruce Boxleitner, John Bennett Perry

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1983

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I Married Wyatt Earp  Based on the memoirs of Josephine Marcus Earp, a young opera singer from San Francisco, this docudrama tells the story of how she became the wife of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp.

two Surprises in this telling of the Wyatt Earp Myth

I Married Wyatt Earp  I came into this movie with low expectations, and that is exactly what I would recommend to anyone viewing ‘I Married Wyatt Earp’. Temper your expectations, and be prepared for some nice surprises.

You must know that this is a made-for-TV-movie, and thus is shot in a made-for-TV-movie frame (no Panavision here), and makes use of a made-for-TV-movie musical score. And, it stars Marie Osmond. But having said all that I was quite delighted to find the film has a fair amount if gravitas, and worth recommending.

In fact this version of story of Wyatt Earp might be a good entrée for men wishing to entice a wife or girlfriend to sit through a Western. There’s something for both sexes here. Marie Osmond’s version of performer Josie Marcus, who goes on to marry Wyatt Earp, is that of a strong woman. But not the I-can-karate-chop-your-head-off-even-though-I’m-half-your-weight strong woman of today’s Hollywood. No, she’s got moxy, and she’s not afraid to grab the reigns of a team of horses or pick up a rifle to hold the bad guys at bay… even though she knows nothing of either. For the men there are a number of tense moments of drama between the good guys and the bad guys, not only with firearms but with up close and personal stare down confrontations that rank as some of the best I’ve seen in all the Earp movies (I’ can’t believe I’m actually saying this).

In terms of how accurate this movie was in portraying the actual events, I must confess that I have given up on that game. In going through the many Earp films I came to realize that the Wyatt Earp myth is just that… myth. It’s become folklore. Sure, there were the original events in 1881, but that story soon became a legend, which evolved into a myth. Every telling of that myth is drawing from the ‘template’ or ‘archetype’ of the original circumstances, and each of these tellings in my view stands on its own. I watch a Wyatt Earp movie now for both entertainment as well as the lessons brought out. And believe me, each telling has its own lessons. It’s great that all the Wyatt Earp movies are not the same.

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