40 movies for 40 days: Johnny Guitar — February 23, 2012

40 movies for 40 days: Johnny Guitar

For the second movie on my Lent list, I’m profiling director Nicholas Ray’s classic 1954 western, “Johnny Guitar,” which pits Joan Crawford against a vigilante mob led by Mercedes McCambridge.

Here’s a quick synopsis: Joan’s character, Vienna, has built a saloon/casino on the outskirts of town hoping she’ll cash in her chips once the railroad lays down tracks. But the haughty townspeople, especially Mercedes’ character, Emma, hate Vienna. Trouble ensues when Emma accuses Vienna of abetting stagecoach robbers who killed her brother. More trouble ensues when Vienna’s old flame, who answers to the name Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden), shows up. How will Vienna’s new flame, the Dancin’ Kid (Scott Brady), respond to Johnny’s arrival?

I love “Johnny Guitar” because… Continue reading