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Archive for November 14th, 2013

johnny-guitar-playing-the-piano

by Pedro Silva

François Truffaut proclaimed Johnny Guitar “La Belle et la Bête du western”.

American audiences “didn’t know what to make of it, so they either ignored it or laughed at it” points Martin Scorcese. There where guns and horses but Johnny Guitar is not a ‘classic western’, it somehow threatened the conventions of the most American of genres. The lack of action, the untraditional themes and the unprecedented role of women didn’t match the expectation of regular western fans.

The major revision element was an issue over gender. Vienna (Joan Crawford) and Emma (a brilliant Mercedes McCambridge) were the main protagonist and antagonists instead of Johnny Guitar and the Dancin’ Kid. Both characters assume traditional masculine roles, they were the leaders on the respective sides of the fence, and even present a shocking virility to the 50’s women. Some people tend to view homosexual elements on the relationship between Vienna an Emma. I think it’s clearly exaggerated, Vienna just represents the sexual freedom Emma herself wishes she could have and this leads to anger and frustration on her part and Vienna becomes her target. (more…)

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