His Dark Materials
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One of the finest Joan Crawford films ever made. Heart-pounding action with an incredible story that reaches the heights that matches the best early classic westerns. Brilliant acting by Crawford and McCambridge and Sterling Hayden. Fine cast all around! Not to be missed!
The best Western movie ever made! With the best movie character ever portrayed: Mercedes McCambridge as Emma Small!
Made more than 60 years ago, Nicholas Ray's Joan Crawford starrer, which puts her in her first proper Western, has not dated well. Aside from the rigid acting styles, jarring studio shoots and the (intentional) campy scenarios and dialogue - all of which can still be charming even in the present context, the thing that stands out most, and not necessarily in a good way, is the casting of Crawford, a kitchen-sink melodrama queen repositioned the strong-minded saloon owner Vienna, who has attracted the hostility and detestation of other town folks, especially Mercedes McCambridge's Emma Small - who reminds me of a demented Judy Garland. Subverting the Western genre, and despite the film's title, the men are not the real protagonists here as the two ladies (and there seems to be only two women living in this town) take centre stage in moving a fairly predictable narrative along. However, despite some progressive tendencies, I don't see this as a feminist film, as the ladies' motivations are still fairly men-centric, while Crawford has to be saved more than once by good ol' Johnny. Ray's direction is exemplary, especially considering he has to cope with Crawford's temperaments, and the script, sharp and funny in places and just plain ridiculous in others, is a camp exercise in retrofitting one genre (western) for the benefit of another (melodrama) and while there are enough zingers here to keep some fans happy, I was cringing more than I was laughing - reactions that I cannot imagine were Ray's or Crawford's intentions when they made the film. While some might consider this a (camp) classic, but sorry, Vienna, this means nothing to me.
Beautiful movie and a unique too, as Scorsese points out. It's awesome no matter how you look at it, and I liked the then bald idea of putting two women in a non-conventional for them environment of leading roles in a western movie. The music is so rich, it's filled with passion and it bursts out from the screen along with the likewise passionate performances by Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford and others. All this added up to make this one a really great classic picture.
We don't get this rating at all! I would say that the movie scrip, cast, dialog and setting are So Bad it is a must see to believe. The buggy ride is hilarious with the high speed background flying by at breakneck speed.
Johnny Guitar is a great example of a movie where I can recognize it has a well-told and effective story, but I have a hard time enjoying it anyways. I'm willing to admit that the way these characters behaved felt authentic, but they kept driving me crazy. This is a movie about the dangers of jealousy and mob mentality. One character in particular is driving the crowd with obvious lies and manipulation, and I cant stand that people go with the flow. The saving grace is Joan Crawford. Her performance and the way the character behaves in defiance to her opposition is spectacular. Despite the fact that Sterling Hayden plays the titular character, and he is a nice addition to the story, he still plays second fiddle to Crawford. I will praise Johnny Guitar for its impactful story-telling because it stuck with me. And at the same time, I will gladly avoid ever watching it again because of how that story makes me feel.
Too much melodrama and pompous acting for me. The story revolves around an uninspired romance when there's more interesting stuff to focus on. Vienna is a strong female character and yet for some reason the title is reserved for a man who wasn't even the protagonist. The irony is she does go on a justified gender-equality rage for a minute at a certain point but they then cut back to the silly romance again. But that's to be expected from a film that managed to make the climactic siege boring.
A perfect campy western movie. Joan Crawford is fabulous. #justiceforTurkey
Tough guy Joan Crawford