Film Series: Johnny Guitar (1954)
FILM SERIES: WESTWARD THE WOMEN: WESTERNS, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD
As World War II loomed, roles for women in Westerns began to expand. Postwar, these female Westerns became a significant sub-genre. Western films are loaded with subtext and symbolism and these female-centric screen gems are no exception. Screenwriter and professor Darren Foster will introduce each film and lead a guided discussion after the film. He is the founder of Film Scribe Productions and has several scripts currently under option or in production.
Directed by Nicholas Ray. Starring Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge.
"A McCarthy-era fever dream that doubles as a Freudian cobweb of mother figures and lonely boys with their guns, Johnny Guitar is the Western relocated to a carnival funhouse painted with technicolor reds, yellows, and blues. Both completely ignoring its totems and invigorating the genre at the same time, Ray sets much of the action inside, including the riveting introduction of Vienna that pits the magisterial Crawford against a bloodthirsty crowd led by Emma (McCambridge). Though both Hayden and McCambridge publicly condemned their co-star for jealousy and showboating, this is perhaps the notorious Crawford's last great performance, proudly theatrical and volcanic in its intensity." – Chris Cabin for filmcritic.com. 110 minutes. Unrated.