5.5/10
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The Outlaw (1943)

Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald.

Directors:

Howard Hughes, Howard Hawks (uncredited)

Writer:

Jules Furthman (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Buetel ... Billy the Kid (as Jack Beutel)
Jane Russell ... Rio McDonald
Thomas Mitchell ... Pat Garrett
Walter Huston ... Doc Holliday
Mimi Aguglia ... Guadalupe
Joe Sawyer ... Charley Woodruff
Gene Rizzi ... Stranger who draws on The Kid
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Storyline

Newly appointed sheriff Pat Garrett is pleased when his old friend Doc Holliday arrives in Lincoln, New Mexico on the stage. Doc is trailing his stolen horse, and it is discovered in the possession of Billy the Kid. In a surprising turnaround, Billy and Doc become friends. This causes the friendship between Doc and Pat to cool. The odd relationship between Doc and Billy grows stranger when Doc hides Billy at his girl, Rio's, place after Billy is shot. She falls for Billy, although he treats her very badly. Interaction between these four is played out against an Indian attack before a final showdown reduces the group's number. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How'd you like to tussle with Russell?? See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was finished and copyrighted in February 1941, it was not shown theatrically for another two years, mostly because of censorship problems that required cuts and revisions. By May 1941 the Production Code Authority (PCA; the industry censors) agreed to approve the film, but Howard Hughes found that many state censor boards wanted a lot more cuts than he was willing to make, so he shelved the film until 2/5/1943, when it was finally shown theatrically in San Francisco in the 115-minute version that we essentially see today. It caused quite a sensation, especially since Jane Russell and Jack Buetel performed a 20-minute scene that was cut from the film after each showing. More hassles about its possible release in New York caused Hughes to shelve the picture once again. See more »

Goofs

When Guadalupe (the older woman) first appears in the shack where Rio is tending to Billy, she has two long plaited pig-tails. Things continue in real-time and after a few views of her with pig-tails, she suddenly appears after a cut with her hair up in a bun at the back. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Townsman: Doc Holliday just got off the stagecoach! Do you want me and some of the boys to come along with you?
Pat Garrett: Why do ask that?
Townsman: Well, I certainly wouldn't want to fool around with him if I were alone.
Pat Garrett: I don't blame you, but I ain't gonna make no trouble for Doc Holliday. He's my best friend!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Prologue: "The Outlaw" is a story of the untamed West.

Frontier days when the reckless fire of guns and passions blazed an era of death, destruction, and lawlessness.

Days when the fiery desert sun beat down avengingly on the many who dared defy justice and outrage decency. See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut copyrighted February 15, 1941, had a running time of 123 minutes. After additional shooting from mid to end March, 1941, the producer submitted a re-edited version of circa 117 minutes for certification by the PCA, and was still denied it. In May 1941, the producer submitted a version with additional cuts (115 min), and was still denied certification. The PCA claimed that of 7 copies for distribution in San Francisco, California, in February 5, 1943, only copy #3 was in compliance with the cuts imposed by the PCA - which may mean that at least both versions (117 and 115 min) were theatrically shown at the limited premiere. Based on a letter by the PCA president, one may believe that the NYC September 15, 1947, re-issue with «objectionable material adequately altered» was a re-cut version running under 115 minutes. Meanwhile, the London, UK, premiere of November 29, 1946 of the «uncensored version» may have been the 117 min version. Various theatrical and VHS versions exist, accommodating different censorship and distributors' criteria, running anywhere from 95 to 105 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Bees (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon Love
(1939)
Music by Mack David and Andre Kostelanetz
Played when Doc and Billy reconcile after refusing to shoot each other.
See more »

User Reviews

a legendary and fascinating mess
19 May 2004 | by IRVIN8See all my reviews

Not too many movies create myths.

Anyone who read Harold Robbins', "The Carpetbaggers", (some 40 years ago) which in turn spawned "Nevada Smith", gets a superbly fictionalized accounting of Howard Hughes. Such fiction prefixes reality. It took a great number of years before I finally saw "The Outlaw" - an eagerly awaited event.

I've attempted to view the AMC-aired movie some three times - but got so antsy that I abandoned it. Few movies of this caliber have been so uneven. And yet it endures. Vintage alone gives the film status.

There's nothing wrong with anecdotal (vignette) - points-of-view movies, but in "The Outlaw", it was like watching one of those lumbering, exasperating silent films: where the actors stand across from each other, and each speaks their lines as if orchestrated by an off-stage conductor. Spontaneity is not this movie's long suit.

The actors: Jack Beutel is one of the most beautiful men to ever stand before a camera. His eyes are smoldering, his gaze laconic, his smile cheeky one moment and sensuous the next. Walter Huston is a young man in a middle-aged body; Thomas Mitchell (Scarlet's daddy in 'Gone With the Wind') is shifty, Irish, as conniving as Wally Beery, sniveling and crafty. And then there's the statuesque Jane Russell. Robbins gave us the intimate details of the suspension bridge-designed brassier - and Jane herself speaks of how she finally pulled the damn thing off and lined her breasts with a few Kleenex. She is as luscious as a near-nude Barbie doll, she is 19 years old, her lips inspire poetry - yet her voice is as monotonous as the Valley-inspired Val-speak of 25 years ago.

I wouldn't hazard to guess Howard Hughes' emotional consistency in the movie, however something went hellishly wrong. Someone fell on his face when it came to editing and scoring. Take the music, for example. It's Scoring 101, embarrassingly manipulative, often overriding the dialogue and ranging from 'Pathetique' to 'The Lone Prairie' mélange.

And then there's the acting: the Mexican senora rolls her eyes with all the panache of a 1940-Mexican B-movie bit actress. There is no spontaneity; she delivers her lines badly and with burning self-consciousness. And when Huston shoots Beutel in the hand, the latter doesn't even flinch; ditto, when he pierces both his ears with bullets. Staggering disbelief.

As to the scene where Jane Russell falls for Jack Beutel and kisses him, it's like watching two trains headed straight for each other. Overblown, top-heavy, agonizingly overreaching...it nonetheless has the sexual potency of an orgasm. The music, the god-awful Close-CLOse-CLOSE UP of Jane's lips bearing down on the half-delirious Beutel. Wow, what power! The men watching this film back in (ca) 1940 must have had to cover their laps.

I leave it to those with a sense of adventure to debate the movie's homoeroticism. There's no such implications from Beutel toward the two older men.

The movie, finally, has to be taken for the time in which it was made. The cinematography is as splendid as if it were turned 10 years ago. It is impossibly uneven, anecdotal, horrifyingly edited, pathetically scored, wretchedly acted...yet the actors are painful in their beauty. Many of the IMDb comments suggest that the film wants watching several times. I second that. It can be slow, cantankerous, giddy, sullen - but Jane's and Jack's beauty are undeniable, Walter is everybody's favorite grandfather. Toland can be thanked for giving us the movie's clarity. --And Howard... Howard was just having fun.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

7 November 1946 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Outlaw See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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