JOHNNY GUITAR
1954, Republic (Paramount), 110 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Joan Crawford is headstrong Vienna, a saloon owner waiting for the railroad to reach her town. Her friendship with charming outlaw the Dancing Kid (Scott Brady) jeopardizes her standing in the local community. Uptight landowners led by jealous Emma (a frightening Mercedes McCambridge) will do anything to repress her yen for the Kid, even if it means lynching half the town to do it. Enter Vienna’s old flame, Johnny (Sterling Hayden), a quick-draw who’s given up guns for a guitar. Only director Nicholas Ray could pull off this color-coded, violent, romantic tall tale rife with allegorical references to the rabid right wing of 1950s America. Victor Young did the lush score, with Peggy Lee singing the torrid theme song. Co-starring Ward Bond, Ernest Borgnine, John Carradine.


THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
1962, Paramount, 119 min, Dir: John Ford

James Stewart and John Wayne represent opposing but equally necessary forces in John Ford’s great late Western: Stewart is an unassuming lawyer who rises to political prominence as he civilizes the West, while Wayne is the man of violent action rendered obsolete by the passage of time. Vera Miles costars as the woman both men love, with additional support from Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef, Woody Strode and John Carradine.


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