The Outlaw (1943)

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    • The Outlaw (1943)




      Plot Summary
      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

      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
      and many more...

      Howard Hughes
      Howard Hawks ... (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Jules Furthman ... (screenplay)
      Howard Hawks ... (uncredited)
      Ben Hecht ... (uncredited)

      Howard Hughes

      Victor Young

      Gregg Toland
      Lucien Ballard ... (uncredited)

      Jane Russell got the role after a nationwide search by Howard Hughes for a busty actress.

      In his book "Hollywood", Garson Kanin wrote that one day in New York, he and George S. Kaufman were walking down Broadway and counted five billboards with an alluring picture of Jane Russell advertising this film, prompting Kaufman to remark: "They ought to call it 'A Sale of Two Titties'".

      Howard Hawks started as director but quit after two weeks, ostensibly to direct Sergeant York (1941). However, Howard Hughes, who had the dailies flown to Los Angeles daily, had complained that Hawks was not spending enough time filming, which probably precipitated his leaving. Hughes took over as director in December 1940 and announced all scenes would be re-shot by Gregg Toland, who replaced the original cinematographer, Lucien Ballard. However, screenwriter Jules Furthman filled in for Hughes as director on 31 December 1940 and often thereafter.

      Once they'd found Jane Russell, Howard Hughes and his aircraft engineers designed a special cantilevered bra to enhance the appearance of her bust. She never wore it, but this movie was the reason the famous bra was designed.

      Film debut of Jane Russell.

      This film seriously hampered the career of co-star Jack Buetel. As a result of his contractual arrangement with producer Howard Hughes, he did not appear in another film for seven years. Though a regular on TV's Judge Roy Bean (1956) and quite a few other roles, he retired from films in 1961 at age 46.

      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 then he was willing to make, so he shelved the film until 5 February 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.

      The first American film that defied the "Production Code" of the Hays Office, which dictated what could and could not be shown on screen.

      Film debut of Ben Johnson.

      Howard Hawks wanted Albert R. Broccoli to work as an assistant director on the film, but when Howard Hughes heard it he said: "I can't give a good friend a job, the studio will be very upset with me!" But Hawks replied: "I want Cubby!" (Albert R "Cubby" Broccoli, who later became famous for the 'James Bond' films).

      When re-released in San Francisco on 23 April 1946, the theater owner was arrested for showing a film "offensive to decency." The MPAA maintained that Howard Hughes switched prints and did not show the version that was approved. Hughes resigned from the MPAA and filed a $1,000,000 lawsuit demanding triple damages. He lost the suit and all the appeals. Despite the legal battles and many bans, United Artists continued to roadshow the film in 1946 and 1947 and it set records almost everywhere it was shown. Originally banned in New York, it was finally shown on 11 September 1947 when the ban was lifted.

      Arthur Loft is credited as "Swanson" in studio records, but that role was played by Edward Peil Sr., and Loft was not seen in the movie. Modern sources also list the following actors (with their character names) as cast members: Nina Quartero (Chita), Frank Darien (Shorty), Carl Stockdale (Minister), Ed Brady (Deputy), Dick Elliott (Salesman) and John Sheehan (Salesman). None of these actors were identifiable in the movie, but may have been in sequences which were cut. Some of these characters may have been in a coach, which is seen coming to town in extreme long-shot.

      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.

      Doc Holliday changes position several times between shots during his first conversation with Billy the Kid.

      Crew or equipment visible
      (at around 1 min) As Doc and The Kid are leaving the stable, they both walk into the camera shadow on the right side of the screen.

      Errors in geography
      Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) appear in several scenes. Joshua tree occurs in southeastern California (mostly, southern Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and extreme southwestern Utah, but not in New Mexico, where the story takes place.

      Factual errors
      The date on the grave in which Doc Holliday is buried, which reads 'Here lies Billy the Kid', is July 13, 1881. The real Doc Holliday participated in events of the famous Gunfight at OK Corral on October 26th, 1881.

      Billy the Kid was killed by Pat Garrett in 1881, but Doc Holliday died in bed of tuberculosis in 1887.

      The grave marker at the end of the film gives July 13th as the date Billy was killed. In fact he died on 14th July.

      In the final scene you can see a car pass on the distance, from left to right.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Red Rock Canyon State Park - Highway 14, Cantil, California, USA
      Socorro, New Mexico, USA (second unit)
      Tuba City, Arizona, USA
      Yuma, Arizona, USA
      General Service Studios - 1040 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA (studio)
      Samuel Goldwyn Studios - 7200 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California, USA (studio)

      Watch the Movie

      The Pistolero of Red River
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • The Outlaw is a 1943 American Western film, directed by
      Howard Hughes and starring Jack Buetel, Jane Russell, Thomas Mitchell, and Walter Huston.
      Hughes also produced the film, while Howard Hawks served as an uncredited co-director.
      The film is notable as Russell's breakthrough role, turning the young actress into a sex symbol
      and a Hollywood icon. Later advertising billed Russell as the sole star.

      Famous publicity still used to promote both the film and Russell
      In 1941, while filming The Outlaw, Hughes felt that the camera did not do justice to Jane Russell's bust. He employed his engineering skills to design a new cantilevered underwire bra to emphasize her figure. Hughes added curved structural steel rods that were sewn into the brassiere under each breast cup. The rods were connected to the bra's shoulder straps. The arrangement allowed the breasts to be pulled upward and made it possible to move the shoulder straps away from the neck. The design allowed for a larger amount of bosom to be exposed. Contrary to many media reports afterward, Russell did not wear the bra during filming. According to her 1988 autobiography, she said the bra was so uncomfortable that she secretly discarded it. She wrote that the "ridiculous" contraption hurt so much that she wore it only a few minutes. She instead wore her own bra, padded the cups with tissue, tightened the shoulder straps, and returned to the set. She later said, "I never wore it in The Outlaw, and he never knew. He wasn't going to take my clothes off to check if I had it on. I just told him I did."
      The famed bra ended up in a Hollywood museum—a false witness to the push-up myth.

      Although the film was completed in February 1941, Hughes had trouble getting it approved by Hollywood Production Code Administration due to its emphasis on and display of Russell's breasts. The Production Administration set the standard for morally acceptable content in motion pictures and they ordered cuts to the film. Hughes reluctantly removed about 40 feet, or a half-minute, of footage that prominently featured Russell's bosom. However, Century-Fox cancelled their agreement with Hughes to release The Outlaw. Hughes stood to lose millions of dollars. Ever the resourceful businessman, he schemed to create a public outcry for his film to be banned. Hughes had all his managers call ministers, women's clubs and housewives telling them about the 'lewd picture' Hughes was about to release starring Jane Russell. The public responded by protesting and trying to have the film banned, which turned into just the publicity Hughes needed to create demand for the film and get it released. The resulting controversy generated enough interest to get The Outlaw into the theaters for one week in 1943, when it was pulled due to violations of the Production Code. It was finally released widely on April 23, 1946, when United Artists premiered the film in San Francisco, when it became a box office hit.

      Hughes then sued Classic Film Museum, Inc. and Alan J. Taylor for unlawful distribution of Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaw. When it emerged that The Outlaw had fallen into the public domain in 1971 for lack of copyright renewal, the case was settled, with Classic Film Museum agreeing to stop distribution of the two copyrighted titles, and Hughes withdrawing its claim on The Outlaw.

      The film was colorized (an alteration of a finished work of art) twice. The first colorization was released by Hal Roach Studios in 1988. The second colorized version, produced by Legend Films, was released to DVD on June 16, 2009, featuring both the newly colorized edition, and a restored black and white edition of the film. The new DVD version also featured an audio commentary by Jane Russell and Hughes' alleged wife, actress Terry Moore. Russell approved of the colorization, stating, "The color looked great. It was not too strong, like in many of the early colorized movies that made the films look cheap."

      A curiosity of the film is the maudlin expression of affection between the Doc and Billy characters as they decide not to consummate the fateful gunfight at the end has a homosexual overtone to it, amplified by the almost comical whining expression of jealousy and rejection by the Pat character about Billy alienating and taking off with his buddy Doc. The foregoing theme also appears to be amplified by the Doc and Billy characters constantly spurning the voluptuous allure of the young Russell for the horse Red

      User Review
      Lust in the dust.
      16 November 2003 | by Michael O'Keefe (Muskogee OK)

      michael wrote:

      Highly anticipated. Hyped to the hilt. Howard Hawks directs with the aid of Howard Hughes. This western depicts the relationships between Billy the Kid(Jack Buetel),Doc Holliday(Walter Huston) and Sheriff Pat Garrett(Thomas Mitchell). Cowboys, Indians and gun play are not the main feature...the debut of Jane Russell is! This movie was filmed in 1941, but it took two years to pass the censors due to the shameless display of Russell's ample assets(36D). Aircraft pioneer Hughes actually designed the bra that helps showcase Russell. This is also Buetel's debut; but Huston is the one to prove his screen greatness. Probably the first sex western. Of course the fade outs leave a lot to the imagination. Worth the ballyhoo.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

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