Johnny Guitar (1954)

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    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    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

    Full Cast
    Joan Crawford ... Vienna
    Sterling Hayden ... Johnny 'Guitar' Logan
    Mercedes McCambridge ... Emma Small
    Scott Brady ... Dancin' Kid
    Ward Bond ... John McIvers
    Ben Cooper ... Turkey Ralston
    Ernest Borgnine ... Bart Lonergan
    John Carradine ... Old Tom
    Royal Dano ... Corey
    Frank Ferguson ... Marshal Williams
    Paul Fix ... Eddie
    Rhys Williams ... Mr. Andrews
    Ian MacDonald ... Pete
    India Adams ... Singer for Miss Joan Crawford (singing voice) (uncredited)
    Trevor Bardette ... Jenks (uncredited)
    George Bell ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Bob Burrows ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Curley Gibson ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Chick Hannon ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Clem Harvey ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Frank Marlowe ... Frank - Bartender (uncredited)
    John Maxwell ... Jake - Bank Clerk (uncredited)
    Sheilk O'Brien ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Robert Osterloh ... Sam (uncredited)
    Denver Pyle ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Rocky Shahan ... Cowboy at Hanging (uncredited)
    Dean Williams ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Sumner Williams ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Sheb Wooley ... Posseman (uncredited)
    Will Wright ... Ned - Bank Teller (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Philip Yordan (screenplay)
    Roy Chanslor (novel)
    Ben Maddow uncredited
    Nicholas Ray uncredited

    Harry Stradling Sr.

    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.

    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.

    Although Philip Yordan is credited as a screenwriter on the film, his contribution to the screenplay actually was written by Ben Maddow, whom Yordan fronted for, splitting the fee with the black-listed writer.

    Joan Crawford, who had bought the rights to the novel, selling it to 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.

    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.

    This film was intended for 3D viewing.

    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's 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.

    Continuity: In the beginning of the film, when Johnny Guitar passes by the miners riding, his shadow is projected to his left side. In the next shot it is projected to his right side.

    Continuity: 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.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona, USA
    Sedona, Arizona, USA

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Johnny Guitar starred Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden,
    Mercedes McCambridge, and Scott Brady.
    The screenplay by Philip Yordan was based upon a novel by Roy Chanslor.
    The film was directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by Herbert J. Yates.
    This was the last feature film produced by Republic Pictures in its Trucolor process.
    The film has been broadcast on American television,
    released in VHS and DVD formats, and adapted to musical theater.
    In 2008, Johnny Guitar was selected for preservation in the
    United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress
    as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

    Most Duke fans, from our comments on previous threads,
    are not lovers of Joan Crawford,
    and she didn't particually endear herself to others,
    especially co-star Mercedes McCambridge who she was obviously
    enraged and jealous of! (see Trivia)
    However this was a significant western.

    Featured some of Duke's Pals, notably
    Ward Bond, John Carradine
    Paul Fix and Denver Pyle

    User Review

    Color, Color, Everywhere!
    9 September 2002 | by telegonus (brighton, ma)


    This deservedly legendary western has to be seen to be believed. Directed by Nicholas Ray in blazing color, courtesy of Harry Stradling, Jr., it's western featuring the rivalry between two women, Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, as they quarrel over two men, Sterling Hayden and Scott Brady, and shake things up in the Old West, Hollywood style, 1954. The film is for all practical purposes experimental. Ray is indulging himself in color, composition and space, nudging the viewer toward laughter at every twist and turn of its convoluted plot. As a purely visual exercise the film is a rousing success. Although Victor Young's music is nice, and the late Peggy Lee does a good job with the title tune, this one's better with the sound off. It is a movie to see, to experience, and very hard to discuss. Lord knows, I've tried. If you can make sense out of it, I'll buy you dinner. My best guess is that Ray was taking all the aspects of film that are traditionally ancillary and incidental, and putting them ahead of everything else. What I like most about Johnny Guitar is the way Joan Crawford's saloon is designed, the undergound cave, the waterfall, the cabin on top of the hill, the moments of intimacy and emotion as they occur in these places, and how the viewer is encouraged to suspend his disbelief of what the story is about and give into his emotions, as the characters give into theirs', and let the devil take the hindmost. Ray succeeded marvelously here, as there's nothing else quite like this one; and the movies in general as far as I'm concerned are still lagging behind it, by several decades.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Johnny Guitar would've been a better movie without Joan Crawford. Never thought she was this great actress or raging beauty like the press and others made her out to be. Always thought she allowed her fame to go to her head and turn her into a primadonna.

  • Yeah, from what I've read about Joan Crawford, she was not a nice person. And as an actress, she never did impress me much. Wonder how she got along with the rest of the cast on this movie. Ward Bond was supposedly an "outspoken" individual; I might be wrong, but I can't imagine that he would put up with that kind of garbage....