HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  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 4368 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: