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Johnny Guitar (1954) Poster

(1954)

Trivia

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Sterling Hayden said: "There is not enough money in Hollywood to lure me into making another picture with Joan Crawford. And I like money."
According to Penny Stallings' "Flesh and Fantasy", the crew broke into spontaneous applause after one of Mercedes McCambridge's powerhouse scenes, which infuriated star Joan Crawford. According to Nicholas Ray, he then began shooting the younger actress' scenes in the early morning before Crawford got there. After the star witnessed one of these early shoots she flew into a rage, broke into McCambridge's dressing room and slashed her clothes to shreds. McCambridge blamed her next two years of inactivity on Crawford's repeated attempts to blacklist her.
At one point in the movie Johnny says, "I'm a stranger here myself." This was Nicholas Ray's own personal motto, a recurring theme in his movies, and reportedly the working title for just about every movie he directed.
Joan Crawford, who had bought the rights to the novel and sold it Republic Pictures with the provision that she would star, initially wanted Claire Trevor to play the part of Emma and was jealous of the younger, competitive Mercedes McCambridge.
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.
Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge fought both on and off camera. One night, in a drunken rage, Crawford scattered the costumes worn by McCambridge along an Arizona highway. Cast and crew had to collect the outfits.
In scenes where the horses rode near a waterfall, they were fitted with blinders. The animals were so afraid of the waterfall that they wouldn't go near it without the blinders on.
Bosley Crowther in the review in The New York Times wrote that Joan Crawford "plays essentially the same role played by Van Heflin in Shane (1953)".
Joan Crawford wanted Paul Newman to play The Dancing Kid.
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This film was intended for 3D viewing.
Although Philip Yordan is credited as a screenwriter on the film, his contribution to the screenplay actually was written by the blacklisted Ben Maddow, whom Yordan fronted for, splitting the fee with the writer.
Robert Mitchum was considered for the role of Johnny Guitar, but RKO wouldn't loan him out.
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Several sources claim that Dennis Hopper appeared as an uncredited extra in this film. However, Hopper himself denied this in an interview.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
By most accounts, Sterling Hayden was always difficult to work with. Joan Crawford, not the easiest person to work with, called Hayden "the biggest pill in Hollywood."
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Peggy Lee wrote the lyrics to the theme song and sings it over the closing credits.
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This was Nicholas Ray's first project after leaving RKO Studios where he had been under contract for seven years.
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Nicholas Ray was quite unhappy during the filming and later admitted, "Quite a few times, I would have to stop the car and vomit before I got to work in the morning." And his unpleasant memories of the production were only reinforced by the mostly negative reviews the film received from American credits when it opened.
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This was Joan Crawford's first western since Montana Moon (1930).
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The film was part of a package that included Roy Chanslor, a former journalist turned screenwriter, who wrote the screenplay especially for Joan Crawford. At the time, Republic was considered the most prestigious of the minor studios and Nicholas Ray's contract with them gave him a great deal of creative freedom despite the film's modest budget. One of the first things he did was hire Philip Yordan for a complete rewrite of the script. Yordan later said, "He collaborated with me less on the dramatic than the architectural level, creating settings like the saloon, working on the geometrical relationships between places."
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In an interview in the Criterion Collection release of The Killing (1956), Sterling Hayden stated that he did not care for the film. "They put string, like you get at the grocery store, over my guitar in case I accidentally hit them," he said, acknowledging that "I can't play guitar, and can't sing a good-goddamn, either." "I was at war on that film, during the daytime, with Joan Crawford," he recalled, "and at night with my second wife." Despite his reservations about the film, Hayden acknowledged its popularity.
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Sterling Hayden was an unusual choice for the title role since he didn't know how to ride a horse, play the guitar or shoot a gun.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Mercedes McCambridge wrote in her autobiography that for her death scene, she was doubled by stuntman Charles Wilcox in a dress. Sterling Hayden joked that he looked like a mother superior in drag.
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