Johnny Guitar [VHS] Reviews

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  1. JGC says:
    18 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    best-western, January 10, 2007
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Johnny Guitar [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    Joan really is the player of the 20th Century, and beyond… In the 1950′s all through a dull time in her career (this movie is smack-dab in the middle of Set on fire Song and the even more obscure, “Female On The Beach”) she chose to re-invent herself as a western radical in “Johnny Guitar.” But I despise to admit it, but “Johnny Guitar” is one of those incredibly rare Joan Crawford movies that I would have thoroughly munched on even if she weren’t in it!

    Oh, before I forget, here’s the essentials of this cult-classic:
    Johnny Guitar (May 27, 1954) (Studio: Republic)
    Distributor: Paramount (Although right me if I’m incorrect, but I honestly judge that Turner/Warner Home Video has their hand in just about all of Joan’s films, even those that aren’t from the MGM or Warners libraries.)
    Director: Nicholas Ray
    Runtime Listing: 110 mins
    Affect/BW: Affect (Trucolor)
    (Joan played: Vienna)
    Brief Synopsis:
    A lady saloon owner battles a female rancher out to frame her for murder.

    And here’s the main cast (really, these are my favorites, from the main cast!:)
    Joan Crawford ~ The Star of the Show ~ Vienna
    Mercedes McCambridge ~ Emma Small
    Sterling Hayden ~ Johnny ‘Guitar’ Logan
    Scott Brady ~ Dancin’ Kid
    Ben Cooper ~ Turkey Ralston
    Ernest Borgnine ~ Bart Lonergan
    Royal Dano ~ Corey
    truthful Ferguson ~ Marshal Williams

    “Johnny Guitar” is really based on a novel by Roy Chanslor and is undisputedly the granddaddy of the Female Western Film, because it proudly serves as the original prototype of this genre. It’s also a small known-fact that there really was a real Johnny “Guitar!” Johnny “Guitar” Watson was a well-known musician, who adopted his moniker after he saw Sterling Hayden play the title-role. Although, that’s really where the similarities end.

    …Vienna, a saloon owner of the Ancient Wild-West is just as tough and heavy-fisted as the men that frequent her establishment. Vienna’s nemesis is the (very nearly) equally-equipped Emma Small. Emma wants to run Vienna out of town because she believes that she is a abandoned woman that was behind her brother’s death.

    Ms. McCambridge was such an understated player; I’m not sure why. Needless to say, I really loved her in this movie. And, I loved those stare-downs that Emma gave Vienna. Emma looked at her like she was some fiddle with-lickin’ excellent tender-vittles! Perhaps, the real reason why Emma loathed Vienna so much was because Vienna wasn’t interested. Vienna was hungry for meat, not flesh! But really, wasn’t Emma really digging Vienna like she was a bowl of fancy-fiest…? I honestly reckon that Joan, oops, I mean Vienna (wink wink) was not into chicks. She didn’t swing that way (now the boys in this picture, that’s a different tale.) Maybe she patted a few bottoms and was a small touchy-feely, but that was about it.

    This movie has many vital messages, subtexts, subplots and perhaps even some hidden meanings. IMHO if you’re watching “Johnny Guitar” and miss some of this, then you’re really missing a huge part of the element of this film. …The battle of excellent over evil… The battle to be the alpha male… …Tiresome just to fit in and be accepted… …The socioeconomic rift linking Emma and Veinna’s “gangs”… But, the main message that I learned, is that a gun and a woman with (severe) sexual-frustration is a very perilous mix!

    Perhaps the largest difference linking Emma and Vienna was that Emma was a nut, and Vienna was not. …Instead, there really was something about Vienna that was so primal and perhaps even bent because I picked up that she was distraught, lonely and even desperate, at times. You could very nearly see her lip quivering as she barked out orders to her boys. She was also terrified of losing control. Perhaps, Vienna mimicked Joan. Frankly, I have always believed that at smallest amount a couple of Joan’s hubbies had some sugar in their respected tanks which only made her more starved for a small bit of attention and affection. I’m sure she spent many nights alone, hating herself. Joan was the type of woman that loved being around other people and was petrified of being alone. She wasn’t a picky lady; she just wanted to hear a heartbeat. What’s incorrect with that? Only a very cold person who is incapable of any type of real human emotion could not relate to her; Vienna and Joan, respectively.

    Over the past sixty years, it’s been intimated that there was a personal rivalry linking Miss Crawford and Bette Davis. I have no thought if that’s right or not, but I am certain of one thing; the personal hatred linking Joan and Ms. McCambridge was very real (not to bring up surreal!) And, that’s what made their characters so…

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  2. Byron Kolln says:
    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Crawford and McCambridge in the depiction for “Mommie Dearest”, October 28, 2005
    Byron Kolln (the confront where Broadway meets Hollywood) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Johnny Guitar [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    JOHNNY GUITAR is a very enjoyable western melodrama with Joan Crawford, prominently filmed in colour, as Vienna the misunderstood saloon owner who spearheads the drive for a railroad to be built through her small town. She comes below the hatred and belittle of her fellow townsfolk, not the smallest amount of which a scary pariah called Emma Small (played wonderfully by Mercedes McCambridge in another of her trademark characters with bull-dyke tendencies). Vienna’s only help lies in her ex- like, Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden). When Vienna is accused of taking part in a robbery it sets into motion a chain of events that could end in her lynching…

    This film is a hair’s breath from being high-camp. Joan Crawford plays Vienna in her usual style, exchanging insults and threats with McCambridge in the pictures most memorable scenes. A choice line of McCambridge is “She’s nuthin’ but a railroad tramp”. Watching their scenes made me reckon of Faye Dunaway and Diana Scarwid in MOMMIE DEAREST, they seem to make the same energy on cover, perhaps they watched JOHNNY GUITAR in preparing for their performances?…

    JOHNNY GUITAR is more than a western, and a must-see for fans of Crawford.

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  3. Mark Norvell says:
    10 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Mark Norvell (HOUSTON) –

    This review is from: Johnny Guitar (DVD)

    Bizarre Western directed by the fantastic Nicholas Ray and starring Joan Crawford as Vienna, a tough saloon/casino owner. Vienna is waiting for a railroad to come through to make her business boom but Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge) wants her dead. Emma despises Vienna supposedly because The Dancin’ Kid (Scott Brady) likes Vienna instead of her. Vienna hires Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) to play guitar in the saloon. They are ancient lovers from Vienna’s dance-hall girl days. But all hell breaks loose when a bank robbery goes incorrect and Emma implicates Vienna as the leader and leads a posse to lynch her. Vienna is rescued and takes refuge in the Dancin’ Kid’s hideout. Emma and Vienna will face off before it’s over. Incredible tale written by Philip Yordan and laden with symbolism that has caused some to equate this film to the McCarthy witch hunts of the 50′s. It’s a fascinating piece all right. It’s in affect and features a fantastic supporting cast with Ernest Borgnine, Ward Bond and John Carradine. McCambridge is pure hellfire as the self-righteous Emma and Crawford is noble and stoic as Vienna and supposedly did her own stunts. Allegedly, Crawford and McCambridge insufferable each other on the set and this information kind’ve adds to the fun of the film. Peggy Lee sings the haunting title ballad. A must see. Watch for it.

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