sábado, 1 de agosto de 2009

Johnny Guitar

Probably one of the most original and darkest westerns ever made, (along with The Searchers) it predates a lot of the tone that would be followed in Italy a decade later when the spaghetti western was born. The story deals with Vienna, the owner of a saloon, and her ongoing feud she has with the town around her, particularly with the diabolical Emma Small, played by Mercedes McCambridge, who has a very personal vendetta for the love of one Dancing Kid (Scott Brady). Thankfully for Vienna, help comes in the form of Sterling Hayden, aka Johnny Guitar, a former gunfighter trying to go good.

One of Nicholas Ray’s most famous films, I’ve always loved it, ever since I saw it with my dad when I was a kid. It’s use of color is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. It’s bright during the daytime, and at night, darker than anything. Color also advances when it comes to the characters. In the middle of the second act, Joan Crawford, the good guy, wears the purest white you’d ever want to see, while the lawless posse led by McCambridge wears deep black. It has to be given credit to McCambridge for creating such an insane, hateable character. I’m serious, you’ve never seen such a crazy bloodthirsty bitch like this in movies, except maybe for Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. On a curious note, Ms. McCambridge first won an academy award for her role in the political drama All The King’s Men, then would go on after JG to appear as the evil warden in Jess Franco’s 99 Women, and as the voice of Satan in The Exorcist.

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