Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady
Part of the Joan Crawford Season
Bursting from the screen in delightfully garish Trucolor tones, Johnny Guitar may be named after Sterling Hayden's character but the real protagonist is quite clearly Joan Crawford's fierce saloon-owner, Vienna. Nicholas Ray's subversive 1954 Western returns to cinemas here in a new vivid digital restoration.
When plans emerge for a new railroad through the area, restless and uneasy locals - led by the jealous Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge) - resolve to disrupt this and get rid of Vienna once and for all. Refusing to yield and aided by Hayden's title character, Vienna faces down the mob, who fear the change and new faces that a railroad would bring.
Open to all manner of valid interpretations and readings - and produced during the McCarthy era - it is a cinematic oddity in the best possible sense.
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