Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Heatwave movies: Johnny Guitar

Yup, its the annual JOHNNY GUITAR thread .... 

JOHNNY GUITAR was the very first film I saw, aged 8 - what a vivid introduction to cinema, I was mesmerised by the woman in white about to be hanged, and that other woman in black shooting down the lamps and setting the place on fire. Then of course later when I knew which film it was repeated viewings made it more delirious and desirable than ever. I just simply love it. Nice now to have good dvd showing that odd Republic Technicolor, with an introduction by Marty Scorsese, no less (as good as his one for EL CID)

Then there are those tales of the feud between Joan and Mercedes on set, it is all though oddly poetic as directed by Nick Ray. Joan is perfect as Vienna "sitting at her piano in her own home" waiting for the railroad to come so she can sell out. McCambridge is Emma Small the vicious town boss who is oddly drawn to the Dancing Kid, or perhaps it is Vienna she is drawn to and cannot act on it? The men - even Ward Bond - are just stooges here, as Emma and Vienna dominate. Events move at a pace as the two women face up to the climax. 
Sterling Hayden is sterling again as the quiet Johnny - his scenes with Vienna as they try to recapture their lost love are just so perfect. Then the lynch mob arrive ... For a child of 8 it was a marvellous experience and led to my being taken to other westerns that year: THE COMMAND, DRUM BEAT, SITTING BULL and other movies like A STAR IS BORN (1954 label). Looking at it again now the architecture is fascinating: Vienna's large casino built into the mountain, the waterfall hiding the way to the mountain-top log cabin - and what a perfect cabin it is... one almost wants to live there; and then there's that theme song by Peggy Lee !


  1. "No wire hangers!" sorry just had to. I love westerns. James Stewart my favorite cowboy. I will look for Johnny Guitar, glad to find a western I have not watched.

  2. You will love it, its baroque, over the top, camp, funny, thrilling, great sets and costumes too, and that cast ....