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Johnny Guitar (1954)

 -  Drama | Western  -  27 May 1954 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 9,437 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 66 critic

A strong willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob, when she helps a wounded gang member.

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(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Title: Johnny Guitar (1954)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Scott Brady ...
...
John McIvers
Ben Cooper ...
Turkey Ralston
...
...
...
Corey
Frank Ferguson ...
Marshal Williams
...
Eddie
...
Mr. Andrews
Ian MacDonald ...
Pete
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Storyline

Vienna has built a saloon outside of town, and she hopes to build her own town once the railroad is put through, but the townsfolk want her gone. When four men hold up a stagecoach and kill a man the town officials, led by Emma Small, come to the saloon to grab four of Vienna's friends, the Dancin' Kid and his men. Vienna stands strong against them, and is aided by the presence of an old acquaintance of hers, Johnny Guitar, who is not what he seems. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gun-Queen of the Arizona Frontier ! . . . and her kind of men !!!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 May 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Johnny Guitare  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Trucolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bosley Crowther in the review in The New York TImes wrote that Crawford "plays essentially the same role played by Van Heflin in 'Shane.'" See more »

Goofs

When Johnny has the shootout with Bart in front of the hill-top cabin, in the background we can see Vienna standing on the deck of the cabin, her body all the way to the timber railing. She is in sunlight. Then the view of her goes to a closeup, but now she is standing inside the door opening - in what is obviously a studio shot. This is probably connected to the fact that Joan Crawford insisted on her close-ups only being filmed in the studio, where the lighting could be rigidly controlled. No close-up of her was ever shot while on location. See more »

Quotes

Emma: [Passionately addressing the members of the posse] You heard her tell how they're gonna' run the railroad through here, bringin' thousands of new people from the east. Farmers! Dirt farmers! Squatters! They'll push us out. Is that what you're waitin' for? You're actin' like she's some fine lady, and doin' nothin' makes all of you fine gentlemen. Well, she ain't, and you're not! So you better wake up. Or you're gonna' find you and your women and your kids squeezed between barbed wire and fence ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Joe Clark
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the guitar by Sterling Hayden (dubbed)
See more »

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User Reviews

color, in black and white
27 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Boy this is a jewel, and for many different reasons. A good lot of people deserve credit for their work

First is Nicholas Ray for his direction. A fine preparation and presentation of the visual elements really took some doing. The use, but not excessive glorification (thank goodness), of the relatively new Trucolor is well-done; the horses full of black-clad riders rushing up the rocky hill in the night, the many shots of the furious blazes dissolving Vienna's place, and so much more.

The acting is remarkable. Sterling Heyden, just in standing before the camera and delivering his lines in that firm and fearless manner (ala Asphalt Jungle), is a strong presence. John Carradine once again shows himself as the precious dramatist he proved himself to be many years before in The Grapes of Wrath.

What strikes me the most, though, is Ben Maddow's (thank Phillip Yordan for being an heroic front) screenplay. It is not only thick in theme and symbolism, it is thick with what was (at the time) almost unprecedented elements. Both Vienna and Emma are, as either GOOD or BAD, shown as the leaders of men! Pacifism is being shown as a good thing! Is that the good guys wearing black and the bad guys wearing white (or maybe the other way around)?! As many comments have mentioned, the Un-American Activities Committee parallels (complete with the entire Ox-Bow-esquire element) are, really, quite thinly veiled. The economically powerful, Small and McIver, are dominant and monopolistic capitalists (a version of antagonism almost unseen, for obvious reasons, since the McCarthey-assaulted Force of Evil). Remember, this is 1954!!!! This stuff is downright revolutionary! How did they ever get it all past the censors and masters of the code?

Let's hope time doesn't forget this one in favor of some formulaic shoot-'em-ups simply because they feature "the Duke."


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