JOHNNY GUITAR

Director Nicholas Ray
Year 1954
Starring Joan Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, Sterling Hayden
Run Time 110min
More Info IMDb

Part of the series Alamo Plays the Hits. See the full line-up here.

An off-kilter but intriguingly sensational western about a saloon-madam Vienna (Joan Crawford) who learns that her wealth and power can’t buy everything as a town full of jealous landowners try to overrun her property. The eponymous male (Sterling Hayden) of Ray’s western gender and genre-bender is the film’s object of desire; a trophy cowboy returned, feuded over by the two women who wear the pants in this wild west town: Joan Crawford and the sexually frustrated rancher Emma McCall (Mercedes McCambridge). Nicholas Ray's1954 masterpiece is one of the all-time left-field wonders of the studio system, a film so subversive it's a wonder it ever got made.

Relentlessly feminist, JOHNNY GUITAR examines the costs of a woman’s independent action through lurid, violent exaggeration. A pop-culture madhouse dressed up in spurs and a cowboy hat.

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