(Review originally written at 29 January 2010)

This movie tries to be a different western. It of course mostly does this by having a female lead. It probably is one of the first and also one of the only feminist westerns out there but why carry the title of the main leading man, Johnny Guitar, when attempting to make a feminist movie? Just one of the things that shows that a lot of things are wrong with this movie.

For about 70% of its time this movie is a total drag. There are some sequences that go on for far too long, though this does improve as the movie heads toward its end. Perhap a reason why some of the sequences tend to drag is also because the movie suffers from some bad dialog and also acting. I just simply couldn't like Joan Crawford as the tough acting and looking gun-queen of the Arizona frontier. She was a bit ridicules to look at at times because she played her character incredibly stiff. She was also acting very melodramatic in some other sequences, which gave away that she was mostly an actress who worked on dramatic pictures and received most of her fame and acclaim during the '40's, at the time when she also won an Oscar for her role in "Mildred Pierce". But no, she was not the worse thing. That questionable honor goes to Mercedes McCambridge, who was incredibly overacting and even was annoying as a moaning and screaming hysterical woman who wanted to see Vienna and halve the world along with it death.

The movie is filled with some other well known actors, such as Sterling Hayden, Ernest Borgnine and John Carradine. They are not too bad in their roles but they also have all played some more interesting roles in their careers.

It's far from the worst genre movie I have ever seen but it's first halve did certainly made the movie came close to it. Luckily when the movie gets more and better paced, the movie becomes a better and more interesting one to watch. It seriously was hard to keep my interest during the first halve but the movie its second halve luckily compensated for this.

It's not really a western in which a lot is constantly happening. The movie does not only try to be different with its main character but also with the whole overall approach of the genre. It makes "Johnny Guitar" an unique western but I wish I could also say that it was a great and successfully different one. The movie however feels far too messy for that and its dialog, characters and acting prevent this from being far from a memorable- or recommendable one.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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