HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Relic
Nobody
Now, At Last!
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Johnny Guitar The Female Of The Species
Year: 1954
Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ward Bond, Ben Cooper, Ernest Borgnine, John Carradine, Royal Dano, Frank Ferguson, Paul Fix, Rhys Williams, Ian McDonald, Sheb Wooley, Denver Pyle
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) has travelled from Albuquerque to this out of the way area in the West where the railroad is being built. He rides up to a saloon and gambling house standing alone and in the violent dust storm he enters the establishment, finds it empty apart from the staff, and walks over to the bar to order a drink. He announces he's here to see the owner, Vienna (Joan Crawford), but the staff react with hostility until she appears on the balcony. These two have a past, and Johnny hopes to rekindle their flame - but he's wandered into a whole mess of trouble.

This was one of those Westerns made with something of an agenda, as it was scripted by Ben Maddow who had been blacklisted under the communist witch hunts of the fifties and was forced to work under the name of Philip Yordan who acted as his front. Which was why the plot and themes were very much in the liberal quarter of the political spectrum, taking down rabid right-wingers who would round on those who had progressive views by not simply spreading rumours, but setting out to actively destroy them for merely having differing opinions rather than being actually dangerous to society at large.

This witch hunting was summed up by the character of Emma Small, played by Mercedes McCambridge with startling venom, practically stealing the show from under the nose of ostensible star Crawford. This scene-stealing, it's safe to say, did not go unnoticed by her, leading Joan in her characteristically unbalanced fashion to wage a feud with McCambridge, often targetting her clothes and flying into rages when she knew she was upstaged. Even the comparitively easygoing Hayden, himself seeing his role downplayed on screen by the competitive nature of his two leading ladies, swore he would never work with the fiery Crawford ever again.

In the story, funnily enough it's McCambridge's Emma who acted more like Crawford, and vice versa, but knowing that the hatred the two actresses felt (well, Joan did anyway, Mercedes ended up feeling sorry for her rival) was carried over into their performances offers an extra frisson to the antics they get up to, culminating in a highly unusual, even today, gunfight between two female characters. Before we get there the tone director Nicholas Ray worked up was best described as overripe, with most of the action taking place in a searingly-colourful, barely suppressed delirium as Emma tries to run Vienna out of town, or if that doesn't succeed, frame her and have her executed.

Johnny was the man caught in the middle, but such were the men landed in the midst of this feminine fury that they tended to fade into the background, in spite of Johnny's quirk of carrying a guitar instead of a gun. Scott Brady played the Dancin' Kid who is the other man in Vienna's life, but far less scrupulous than Johnny, which leads him to drastic measures when spurned Emma takes against him also, and in support were familiar faces such as Ernest Borgnine (still in his bully boy phase), John Carradine (getting a big scene near the end) and Royal Dano (a curious cowboy who reads and is possibly tubercular). But this was Joan and Mercedes' movie really, one woman hopelessly sexually frustrated and paranoid about the advancing Easterners (symbolism, anyone?) and the other a woman with a loose past, but the moral high ground. It might get more conventional in the middle stretch than its reputation led you to expect, but the overheated ending was memorable. Music by Victor Young; Peggy Lee co-wrote the theme.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3142 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: