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Jack Buetel's relationship with Howard Hughes as depicted in THE OUTLAW

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Originally, Joseph Breen of The Hays Office had 108 objections to the film.

 

The film was budgeted at a low $250,000, but it ended up costing $3,400,000 - in its' day, a huge sum of money.

 

Right, Jarrod, although began in 1940 and finished in 1941 - and released briefly in 1943 - the film only went into wide release in 1946 - after a nationwide publicity campaign, which focused on Jane Russell's breasts. 

 

The original version of the film, which contained 85 miles of film, was severely cut by Howard Hughes himself.  

 

Later in life, Hughes would run the film at least once a month.

$3 million?!  It's not on the screen unless Hughes shot some gay porn footage on the side :) -

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$3 million?!  It's not on the screen unless Hughes shot some gay porn footage on the side :) -

As I said, Howard Hughes shot 85 miles of film.

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As I said, Howard Hughes shot 85 miles of film.

 

Yes, so imagine what a "directors cut" would look like!

 

I'd like to know what happened to all the extra footage.

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Yes, so imagine what a "directors cut" would look like!

 

I'd like to know what happened to all the extra footage.

 

Jarrod, if you got to see it, you might never be the same!

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Jarrod, if you got to see it, you might never be the same!

 

That's true. I wonder how many hours all those miles of footage would take to watch.

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That's true. I wonder how many hours all those miles of footage would take to watch.

One thing's for sure, you'd get to know Buetel in intimate detail.

 

That actual sex scene, which was shot from the POV of his rear end, would be a hoot and a half.

 

Somehow, two "package shots" of Buetel's ample crotch, managed to survive all of the cutting.

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That's true. I wonder how many hours all those miles of footage would take to watch.

One thing's for sure, you'd get to know Buetel in intimate detail.

 

That actual sex scene, which was shot from the POV of his rear end, would be a hoot and a half.

 

Somehow, two "package shots" of Buetel's ample crotch, managed to survive all of the cutting.

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One thing's for sure, you'd get to know Buetel in intimate detail.

 

That actual sex scene, which was shot from the POV of his rear end, would be a hoot and a half.

 

Somehow, two "package shots" of Buetel's ample crotch, managed to survive all of the cutting.

 

When you say Hughes watched the film every year, I am guessing he had his own version. LOL

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When you say Hughes watched the film every year, I am guessing he had his own version. LOL

Jarrod -

 

You got that one right.

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Oh, what we wouldn't give to find a copy of that version. LOL

It must be out there - in fact, I am surprised that it has never surfaced.

 

I've never liked this film.

 

But, now, I can see it as "a wicked romp".

 

Basically, very, very subversive.

 

Hughes, who was always busy with his various projects, would only shoot at night.

 

By that time, the actors must have been up for anything.

 

I can only think of one other Western in which the content is so "ambiguous" - and that one is "The Hanging Tree" with Gary Cooper and Ben Piazza.

 

But maybe I am wrong.

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It must be out there - in fact, I am surprised that it has never surfaced.

 

I've never liked this film.

 

But, now, I can see it as "a wicked romp".

 

Basically, very, very subversive.

 

Hughes, who was always busy with his various projects, would only shoot at night.

 

By that time, the actors must have been up for anything.

 

I can only think of one other Western in which the content is so "ambiguous" - and that one is "The Hanging Tree" with Gary Cooper and Ben Piazza.

 

But maybe I am wrong.

 

Well as I said in the original post, I was mesmerized by Buetel's performance in the picture...and I thought the two veteran character actors provided a sharp contrast to the relative inexperience of Buetel and Russell. So it's certainly an interesting "experiment" on several levels. 

 

I haven't seen THE HANGING TREE in a while. How do you see it as being ambiguous?

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Well as I said in the original post, I was mesmerized by Buetel's performance in the picture...and I thought the two veteran character actors provided a sharp contrast to the relative inexperience of Buetel and Russell. So it's certainly an interesting "experiment" on several levels. 

 

I haven't seen THE HANGING TREE in a while. How do you see it as being ambiguous?

Jarrod -

 

"The Hanging Tree" has a very strong gay subtext.

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Jarrod -

 

"The Hanging Tree" has a very strong gay subtext.

 

Does it? I must have missed it. Guess another viewing is required. LOL

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It was Jane Russell's breasts that sold "The Outlaw" to the movie-going public.

 

After the film was completed, famed photographer George Hurrell was hired to photograph Miss Russell.  

 

He came up with the idea of photographing her in a provocative pose that emphasized her cleavage in a hayloft.

 

This photo became a favorite of GI's during World War II.

 

Later, "Life" magazine run a photo of a GI who was knitting a sweater to cover Miss Russell's ample bosom.

 

Then, as the film was about to open in 1943 in San Francisco, skywriting planes flew overhead five times a day and announced "The Outlaw".

 

With all this publicity, the film opened to bad reviews, but crowds were flocking to see it anyway.

 

When it went into wide release in 1946, Jane Russell, despite having made only that one film, was already an international sex symbol.

 

And, of course, the film made money.

 

Jane Russell has said that she was sold like a can of tomatoes.

 

But the "raison d'etre" of the film has never been acknowledged - Jack Buetel himself.

 

Not Jane Russell.

 

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It was Jane Russell's breasts that sold "The Outlaw" to the movie-going public.

 

After the film was completed, famed photographer George Hurrell was hired to photograph Miss Russell.  

 

He came up with the idea of photographing her in a provocative pose that emphasized her cleavage in a hayloft.

 

This photo became a favorite of GI's during World War II.

 

Later, "Life" magazine run a photo of a GI who was knitting a sweater to cover Miss Russell's ample bosom.

 

Then, as the film was about to open in 1943 in San Francisco, skywriting planes flew overhead five times a day and announced "The Outlaw".

 

With all this publicity, the film opened to bad reviews, but crowds were flocking to see it anyway.

 

When it went into wide release in 1946, Jane Russell, despite having made only that one film, was already an international sex symbol.

 

And, of course, the film made money.

 

Jane Russell has said that she was sold like a can of tomatoes.

 

But the "raison d'etre" of the film has never been acknowledged - Jack Buetel himself.

 

Not Jane Russell.

 

I have a feeling the film was distributed during the war so soldiers could watch it overseas. A rare screening in San Francisco and Jane's photo everywhere would not have been enough-- those guys probably saw the film during the war. And then when it had wider distribution after the war, they went to see it again. 

 

It's ironic the way Jane Russell was used to sell it, when it's really told with Buetel's character as the center of the action (in more ways than one).

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I have a feeling the film was distributed during the war so soldiers could watch it overseas. A rare screening in San Francisco and Jane's photo everywhere would not have been enough-- those guys probably saw the film during the war. And then when it had wider distribution after the war, they went to see it again. 

 

It's ironic the way Jane Russell was used to sell it, when it's really told with Buetel's character as the center of the action (in more ways than one).

You got that right - what more could be said?!

 

What other films were made this way?

 

Jean Cocteau's - with his lover, Jean Marais?

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You got that right - what more could be said?!

 

What other films were made this way?

 

Jean Cocteau's - with his lover, Jean Marais?

 

I am not familiar enough with Cocteau to answer. One of the problems with the marketing of THE OUTLAW is how Jane Russell is used as a beard. And it's perpetuated in later years, because neither Hughes nor Buetel stepped forward and said the film wasn't about Rio (Jane's character) but about something else. Jane benefited the most from their collective silence. 

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I am not familiar enough with Cocteau to answer. One of the problems with the marketing of THE OUTLAW is how Jane Russell is used as a beard. And it's perpetuated in later years, because neither Hughes nor Buetel stepped forward and said the film wasn't about Rio (Jane's character) but about something else. Jane benefited the most from their collective silence. 

 

How was using Russell to market the film a problem?     It was my understanding how she was used in the marketing campaign, as well as the fact the film was banned in certain areas of the country because of how the film exposed how developed she was,   were the main reason the film had any customers. 

 

Cleary few purchased tickets to the film because it was a solid gritty western and of course they couldn't market the film as a "buddy\buddy but much more" type of film.   

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Russell was used to market the film a hit- her image is truly iconic.  Cocteau used Marais in almost all his films .

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How was using Russell to market the film a problem?     It was my understanding how she was used in the marketing campaign, as well as the fact the film was banned in certain areas of the country because of how the film exposed how developed she was,   were the main reason the film had any customers. 

 

Cleary few purchased tickets to the film because it was a solid gritty western and of course they couldn't market the film as a "buddy\buddy but much more" type of film.   

 

Well, it's a problem to people like me who prefer the elimination of subterfuge and more "out" cinema. I am sure Ray agrees with me on this. Hughes was making this film as a fantastic idyll of his relationship with Buetel. But it can never be looked at clearly in that regard with Jane's bosoms peaking out at us from every single poster. Her iconic image has overtaken the meaning of the film. Yes, it did sell tickets but it's kind of like someone using a playboy bunny to get people to look at the Mona Lisa, when it's the Mona Lisa itself that should be the center of attention.

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Well, it's a problem to people like me who prefer the elimination of subterfuge and more "out" cinema. I am sure Ray agrees with me on this. Hughes was making this film as a fantastic idyll of his relationship with Buetel. But it can never be looked at clearly in that regard with Jane's bosoms peaking out at us from every single poster. Her iconic image has overtaken the meaning of the film. Yes, it did sell tickets but it's kind of like someone using a playboy bunny to get people to look at the Mona Lisa, when it's the Mona Lisa itself that should be the center of attention.

 

I agree with what you say, but it wasn't that the use of Russell was a marketing problem when it was released but that now the film is remembered mostly just as a Russell = sexpot film.

 

Anyhow I don't regard the film as very good.  In fact I would say it border on being a stinker.   The reason being the slack direction and plot.    There is little to no tension in the film as well as sexual chemistry where it would traditionally be (as well as defined by the overt  leaning of the plot).    Hughes should have made the film without a women character or where she has a very minor role.     This was done in many buddy\buddy westerns.     Again, they didn't know what type of film they were making and it shows.

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Well, it's a problem to people like me who prefer the elimination of subterfuge and more "out" cinema. I am sure Ray agrees with me on this. Hughes was making this film as a fantastic idyll of his relationship with Buetel. But it can never be looked at clearly in that regard with Jane's bosoms peaking out at us from every single poster. Her iconic image has overtaken the meaning of the film. Yes, it did sell tickets but it's kind of like someone using a playboy bunny to get people to look at the Mona Lisa, when it's the Mona Lisa itself that should be the center of attention.

The film is a triumph of an extremely clever marketing campaign, which has almost nothing to do with the film itself.

 

Jane Russell's breasts were used to sell a seemingly torrid "sex Western".

 

But the sex of the film is actually about the triangular romance that is going on with Billy The Kid, Doc Holliday and Pat Garrett.

 

The fact that Howard Hughes and Jack Buetel could not come forward and reveal the true nature of the film, even in later years,

has only added to the lie that "The Outlaw" is a hot Western romance between Billy and Rio.

 

Supposedly, Jane Russell knew nothing about the relationship between Howard Hughes and Jack Buetel.

 

And, if she ever did, why shouldn't she keep quiet?

 

The film made her an international sex symbol.

 

Even before it opened!

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I agree with what you say, but it wasn't that the use of Russell was a marketing problem when it was released but that now the film is remembered mostly just as a Russell = sexpot film.

 

Anyhow I don't regard the film as very good.  In fact I would say it border on being a stinker.   The reason being the slack direction and plot.    There is little to no tension in the film as well as sexual chemistry where it would traditionally be (as well as defined by the overt  leaning of the plot).    Hughes should have made the film without a women character or where she has a very minor role.     This was done in many buddy\buddy westerns.     Again, they didn't know what type of film they were making and it shows.

 

I could answer by saying we have a diluted (perhaps slightly unfocused) story, since the film was cut down to appease the censors. But it's possible that Hughes was going for more of a stream of conscious style of storytelling. It's kind of a western love poem. In many ways, it reminds me of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO. I think it has that sort of poetic, aimless feel to it.

 

I am sure Hughes knew exactly the type of film he wanted to make, but in 1940 that was virtually impossible. He deserves kudos for trying, and I sincerely hope the "lost" miles of footage are intact somewhere and can be shared with audiences. In an interview later in life, Jack Buetel said if the public knew some of the scenes Hughes had filmed, they would think he was sick. Maybe. But I think there's genius in the film, in what Hughes was attempting to do, even in its current schizophrenic fragments.  

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I agree with what you say, but it wasn't that the use of Russell was a marketing problem when it was released but that now the film is remembered mostly just as a Russell = sexpot film.

 

Anyhow I don't regard the film as very good.  In fact I would say it border on being a stinker.   The reason being the slack direction and plot.    There is little to no tension in the film as well as sexual chemistry where it would traditionally be (as well as defined by the overt  leaning of the plot).    Hughes should have made the film without a women character or where she has a very minor role.     This was done in many buddy\buddy westerns.     Again, they didn't know what type of film they were making and it shows.

Maybe we should leave the final comment to Mr. Thomas Mitchell, who famously said about Mr. Hughes - "That **** knows nothing about  how to direct a film."

 

Or to Mr. Hughes himself, who said, when complaints were registered about Jane Russell and Jack Buetel's lack of experience, "Don't worry about it.  The horses will do the acting".

 

He had hired a non-experienced "actress" for her incredible "****" and a struggling actor for his willingess to submit to the boss.

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