On the outskirts of town, the hard-nosed Vienna owns a saloon frequented by the undesirables of the region, including Dancin' Kid and his gang. Another patron of Vienna's establishment is Johnny Guitar, a former gunslinger and her lover. When a heist is pulled in town that results in a man's death, Emma Small, Vienna's rival, rallies the townsfolk to take revenge on Vienna's saloon – even without proof of her wrongdoing.
There are women in the film, but none has anything you could call a personality.
While it is a pity that the story wasn't told with more visual finesse, this is trivial compared to our real-world problems. It takes a good movie to put that into perspective.
The storyline feels a little thin and moth-eaten in parts but this sequel is plenty of fun.
By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
Hi J, Here is this week's column and pic. Thanks again.Mark GIMMEE SOME SUGAR October begins and it's the month of Halloween, so what better time than now to highlight a horror series that recently made its way to disc. Fans of EVIL DEAD 1 & 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS have thrilled to the horrific and yet humorous adventures of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) since the first film arrived way back in 1981. Praised by Stephen King, loved by fans and a nominee on nearly every list of favorite horror films, the original played for scares while the two sequels more for laughs. They launched the career of Sam Raimi to the point he directed 3 Spider-man films. And now Ash has made his way to series and a disc set.A basis overview of the original: Ash and friends discover an ancient book bound in flesh that when read aloud unleashed a demonic evil that kills his friends. Ash ends up having to cut off his own hand and take on the demon alone, even going back in time to do so. A quick summation but all you need.In the Starz series ASH VS EVIL DEAD the story picks up years later. Ash remains one handed, still works a low level job in retail and retains possession of the Necronomicon or Book of the Dead. He's still the same goofy character we came to love years ago, smart mouthed, subtle as a shovel to the head and more inclined to look for a party than trouble. Unfortunately one drunken hookup has Ash bragging and showing off the book to his conquest of the night and then reading from it. Of course this show off stunt unleashes the Deadites (Evil dead bad guys/demons) again.Various Deadite occurrences follow. One involves police detective Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and her partner investigating a dark house. Her partner is killed and then possessed by a Deadite forcing her to shoot him to defend herself. Put on leave she begins to look into any and all clues on her own time to find out just what's going on, eventually leading her to Ash.But Ash has his own problems when Deadites attack the store where he works. With the help of co-worker Pablo (Ray Santiago) who worships Ash and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) they escape to his trailer where he hopes to find a way of destroying the book. At that trailer they are attacked and the two youngsters get to see Ash in action as he grabs his "boomstick" aka shotgun to take out one Deadite and straps on his chainsaw to the stump where his hand once was to take down another. Yes, that may sound crazy but it works.And like that the threesome is destined to take the path of trying to save the world. With a few stops along the way like checking on Kelly's family and a visit to Pablo's shaman uncle. Each 30 minute episode takes us down the road they're traveling and offers us more clues as to what is going on and how to stop it. The end result is that Ash must face the responsibility he's been trying to avoid all these years and become the hero he was meant to be, albite a tarnished one at best.The show takes the best parts of the original trilogy and multiplies them to a point where they work marvelously well. The character of Ash is a hoot, with a ton of humor on the surface and a hero buried underneath it all that just needs brought out. Pablo is a fantastic sidekick, wanting to join the good fight for the wrong reason (to get closer to Kelly) but willing to follow Ash anywhere. And Kelly offers that tough girl exterior who has a soft spot as well, who thinks of Pablo as a brother but who may change eventually. While Ash doesn't want their help initially he eventually knows he'll need it.Every actor in this series is well suited for their parts. Let me say up front as a fan of Campbell he once again brings Ash to life, and I mean that in a good way. He offers the broad strokes when needed and the subtle ones when called for. Ash is the reluctant hero, a man whose crass ways lead him to make mistakes but someone you'd want in your corner once he gets there. Santiago and DeLorenzo are fresh faces to me and handle their roles well enough to keep up with Campbell, growing into them with each episode.The first season now on disc only lasts 10 episodes which is a shame. When it was over I found myself wanting more. Season 2 has just started on Starz but I can wait for the season to make its way to disc. That means I can take the time to savor each episode. I can also enjoy the fact that they've announced Lee Majors to portray Ash' father! In the meantime I think I'll find myself watching this one more than once, just like I did the original movies. Maybe a weekend of EVIL DEAD with all three films and this series is in order. That might make a fun filled Halloween weekend. This is one not to rent but to add to your shelf. The combination of horror, extreme gore and laughs make it just that good.Past Digital Views reviews, other current reviews and more can be found online at http://dvddigitalviews.blogspot.com, including reviews BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MONEY MONSTER and JOHNNY GUITAR.
Many people just think of this as simply a fantastic western movie, I mean it must have had a big distribution deal because it had huge box office takings world wide. But I think there is more depth to this movie than just that, I think the music that went along with it was truly amazing. I really like the pace at which the action in this movie plays out. The screen writers did a fantastic job is writing the script for the film also.I can't rate this film enough, I gate it 8 out of 10, maybe there were moments that could have been better but there are not many. Credits go out to all of the cast stand out performances from each one of them.Watch this film you will not be disappointed.
Although it's largely known today for its camp value (most of which is due to Joan Crawford), this wonderful film is so much more than something to snicker at. It's an intelligent, colorful western with a great cast and solid direction from Nicholas Ray. It's a story of a battle of wills between two women - - saloon owner Vienna (Joan Crawford) and rancher Emma (Mercedes McCambridge). Emma hates Vienna with a passion and intends to see her dead no matter what it takes. Brought into the struggle between these two is a gang of outlaws led by the Dancin' Kid (Scott Brady), a mob of 'upright citizens' led by rancher John McIvers (Ward Bond), and a guitar-playing gunslinger named -- you guessed it -- Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden).Joan Crawford does a fine job as Vienna. As with most of Crawford's later output, her performance is overshadowed by her looks and wardrobe. I'm as guilty as the next person of having a laugh at Joan but I try to keep in mind she was a great actress who, more often than not, delivered the goods. I see some reviewers referring to her performance here as hysterical or campy but I don't see that. She's pretty subdued by Crawford standards. This isn't Queen Bee or Torch Song. Mercedes McCambridge does an amazing job as Emma, almost to the point of making me uncomfortable while watching. Emma is a virulent character seething with hatred and, given the behind-the-scenes stories of how McCambridge really did hate Crawford, it makes you wonder where the line is blurred between the actress and her role. You definitely feel the tension between the two in all of their scenes. Of the rest of the cast, the other standout is Sterling Hayden. He's a wooden actor I'm not always a big fan of. He walks that fine line between bad and good that few actors pull off successfully. I will say that he gives one of his more charming turns here and it's possibly my favorite performance of his for that reason.The movie was filmed in Republic's Trucolor process and it looks fabulous. A lot's been written about this one over the years. There's certainly a great deal of symbolism and subtext for movie buffs to chew on. So it works on the level of giving you something to think about but it also works as simple entertainment. Nicholas Ray wanted to do a different kind of western than people were used to in 1954 and he certainly accomplished that. Definitely recommended, not just for western fans or fans of the actors, but for anyone who likes their movies to be both entertaining and smart. Oh and it served as partial inspiration for Once Upon a Time in the West. It warrants viewing for that alone.
This could be called an Anti-Western or an Upside Down Western. It is one of those that has as many Descriptions as it does Admirers and Dissenters. It is Divisive and can Delight and Disappoint. There is Something here that cannot be ignored. It is Audacious, Different, Quirky, and Quintessentially a Cult Movie, Camp Classic, or an unmitigated Catastrophe, depending on who is doing the Pontificating.What Attracts Viewers and Historians to this Glaring Misrepresentation of the Western is a number of things, one is the Fading Star Joan Crawford taking full Control of the Film Production and Demanding a Singular Voice to its Intent and Outcome. Her Characterization is something so Bizarre that only an Egomaniac could have seen it as Flattering. She does Dominate the Movie but not Completely.The other Female Lead in this Western, and the two Women lead the Proceedings, is Mercedes Cambridge and She practically steals the Film with a Performance that is Loathsome and Witch Like. There are Garish Color Schemes and Poetic Dialog along with a Script that is not Shy about Anti-McCarthy Sentiments. There is more than one Scene where Characters are Forced to Name Names to save themselves and so on.An Unsettling Movie that is so Off-Beat it is a Hard Swallow for Casual Western and Movie Fans because it so Unorthodox. But if you are looking for Metaphors in your Movies and can Enjoy stretching and turning things inside out, this may be just the Western you are looking for.