Sunday, July 3, 2011

Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)

My review for Johnny Guitar, Nicholas Ray's narrow-framed but epic-scope Western, is up now at Cinelogue. A gender-bending, brazenly political film, Johnny Guitar was not Ray's first foray into color film but most directly points to his legendary uses of CinemaScope to follow. Frankly, the only film I can think of that uses color better and to more deliberately artful effect is Powell/Pressburger's Black Narcissus. Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge give electrifying performances as women locked in a rivalry of sexual expression and repression, while Sterling Hayden's masculine presence is undermined routinely by gentle, even plaintive emotion. It's a wild film from start to finish, and one of Ray's best films, second perhaps only to Bigger Than Life.

So please head to Cinelogue and check out my review. Comments appreciated.

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