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OMG. I just re-watched this film after a LONG time and I have never laughed so much in my life. Did they make this intentionally camp? Because...wow. And what happened to the body in the craps table? (That was a craps table, right? I'm a little fuzzy on gambling games)

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Yes, *Johnny Guitar* is very entertaining. Sterling Hayden is always fun to watch, no matter what kind of character he's playing. And how 'bout that crazed Mercedes McCambridge, riding with her posse to hunt old Johnny (and Joan) down?

*Johnny Guitar* has the distinction of being a Western, a noir, and a Joan-0-drama all rolled into one.

 

(sorry, I can't remember about the body and the craps table/)

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Yes, *Johnny Guitar* is very entertaining. Sterling Hayden is always fun to watch, no matter what kind of character he's playing. And how 'bout that crazed Mercedes McCambridge, riding with her posse to hunt old Johnny (and Joan) down?

> *Johnny Guitar* has the distinction of being a Western, a noir, and a Joan-0-drama all rolled into one.

>

> (sorry, I can't remember about the body and the craps table/)

 

Emma: Let's go to Vienna's!

 

Emma's dead brother in the beginning--they laid him in the craps table and never removed him. At least not that I could see (and I watched! lol)

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> {quote:title=Jenetico wrote:}{quote}

> I was fascinated with Mercedes MacCambridge in this film. Wish her career would have been longer and more successful. I understand she fell on hard times, drinking, etc???

 

Among other things--apparently her son John got into trouble with mishandled funds (I assume as a stock broker) and then killed his family and himself. Yikes. I'd drink too.

 

She was funny in Johnny Guitar--crazy-intense, but was really good in All the King"s Men and Suddenly Last Summer.

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Did the body go to the same place as the birthday cake in Godfather II? One minute it was at the edge of the table the next gone but nobody had left the table yet.

 

This movie is strange. I think Ms. Crawford was too old and her makeup too grotesque for her to be believable. I think it might have been better with someone else in the lead.

 

By the way, why did she treat Joan Collins so shabbily when Joan told her she had been named for her? I don't know how old Ms. Collins was when they met but I'm thinking Ms. Crawford did not want to be reminded that she was old enought to have an adult namesake? Most folks would have taken it as a complement.

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I wouldn't say it's intentionally camp at all, a large number of things in this film are simply and pointedly funny and it can still be completely serious.

 

You can find all kinds of examples of dialogue in westerns taken seriously that are as "campy" as that found in Johnny Guitar but no one ever says anything about it. Johnny Guitar is simply completely unorthodox and its approach to its characters lacks much of the heroism traditionally found in westerns, so its characters are sardonic and sarcastic. By this point, Nicholas Ray was entering a new period in his career, one marked by a distinct shift away from any realism or "believability" that a Hollywood film is supposedly creating. Rebel Without a Cause and Bigger Than Life share this same quality in spades. Seriously, why single out Joan's makeup or clothes, particularly when these things have specific meaning in the film and Ray's films in general, when every Hollywood movie suffers from the over-glamorized thing? Do you really think women looked as neat and well kept in the old west as Jean Arthur or Grace Kelly or Barbara Stanwyck?

 

I've never actually noticed the disappearing body or the disappearing shotgun and really it doesn't matter. In any case, Republic wasn't exactly MGM or Fox and this film had a troubled shoot.

 

All of this camp business has essentially ruined any potential opportunity I'll have to see and enjoy this in a theater in America. From what I've heard, people act like they're watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In Japan apparently they don't laugh at Douglas Sirk's films the way we do, maybe I'll have to go halfway around the world to get a respectable theatrical viewing of Johnny Guitar. I think we take our ideas of "Camp" too far sometimes (I like this Chris Fujiwara article - http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/tears-without-laughter-20080818).

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About misplaced laughter, "camp", and film: I remember a few years ago attending a screening of *Vertigo* at a cinema. There was quite a crowd, most of them younger than myself. I recall wondering at the time if the average age of the audience, which seemed to be around 25, had something to do with their response to this great film. They kept giggling and snickering at scenes that were not intended as funny at all, and finally, when it got to the scene in the giant sequoias forest, when Scottie and Madeleine kiss and the camera circles around them, the audience absolutely screamed with laughter.

While I can see how this scene is nothing if not intense and perhaps a tad overdramatic, it is necessary to the story, and it is a culmination of Scottie's obsession with Madeleine.

The silly laughter completely ruined the effect of this pivotal (no pun intended) scene; I felt that the majority of the audience did not "get" Hitchcock or what he was doing in this film at all.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 13, 2010 9:12 AM

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> All of this camp business has essentially ruined any potential opportunity I'll have to see and enjoy this in a theater in America. From what I've heard, people act like they're watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In Japan apparently they don't laugh at Douglas Sirk's films the way we do, maybe I'll have to go halfway around the world to get a respectable theatrical viewing of Johnny Guitar. I think we take our ideas of "Camp" too far sometimes (I like this Chris Fujiwara article - http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/tears-without-laughter-20080818).

 

I agree with you. I am so happy that I am old and grew up in a time when the audience wasn't so self-impressed that they just HAD to be part of everything. I have zero interest in watching a film with an audience dressed as their favorite character, while they either shout at or sing with the actors in the film. The very idea of it turns my stomach. As silly as I might find a film like Johnny Guitar, it is enjoyable on its own terms, not what some glib audience members thinks is amusing. In the case of Rocky Horror, it is so mediocre, that its only hope is for audience participation. There's simply nothing else there. But somewhere along the way, people decided that the only way to enjoy a movie is for them to be feel they are part of it. When I watch a film, I want absolute silence from the audience.

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This is a good topic here in what is camp and what is just drama that doesn't reflect actual reality but isn't camp (i.e. clearly wasn't designed as camp).

 

Take one of the most common things in westerns: The gunfight. 90% of them in very serious westerns are not realistic based on what I saw on the history channel. First most of the time the two guys were only 10 feet or so away from each other and not the longer distances most movies have.

 

Take a movie like High Noon; One could say the entire plot is a farce. Really if a Quaker gal can shoot a guy in the back than any of the men in the town could of done so and felt safe about doing it.

 

But I do feel that for a western Johnny Guitar goes real close to crossing that line into farce. The first time I saw it I only watched about the first 30 minutes and I moved on, but now I have seen the entire movie a few times and I do really like it, especially Haden's Johnny. But come on Joan's make up does remind me of "Baby Jane" and all the men standing just accepting that insane cat fight is funny and very unrealistic. But still the movie is a kick and if I was a producer I wouldn't of asked Ray to change it.

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> {quote:title=Jenetico wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks Tk65 for your answer about Mercedes MacCambridge.

 

No porblem--I looked it up. I wanted to know too. Maybe I take my job as "Mom" too seriously, but I don;t think there's anything worse than having your child really go bad. How could you not feel responsible?

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}

> This is a good topic here in what is camp and what is just drama that doesn't reflect actual reality but isn't camp (i.e. clearly wasn't designed as camp).

>

> Take one of the most common things in westerns: The gunfight. 90% of them in very serious westerns are not realistic based on what I saw on the history channel. First most of the time the two guys were only 10 feet or so away from each other and not the longer distances most movies have.

>

> Take a movie like High Noon; One could say the entire plot is a farce. Really if a Quaker gal can shoot a guy in the back than any of the men in the town could of done so and felt safe about doing it.

>

> But I do feel that for a western Johnny Guitar goes real close to crossing that line into farce. The first time I saw it I only watched about the first 30 minutes and I moved on, but now I have seen the entire movie a few times and I do really like it, especially Haden's Johnny. But come on Joan's make up does remind me of "Baby Jane" and all the men standing just accepting that insane cat fight is funny and very unrealistic. But still the movie is a kick and if I was a producer I wouldn't of asked Ray to change it.

 

 

I think it does cross it. My sister and I watch it and laugh. A lot. We even use one of the lines as a favorite quote. She'll text me and say, "Let's go to Vienna's!"

Mercedes McCambridge's character is bug nuts crazy--and probably in love with both the Dancing Kid and Vienna. And the Dancing Kid? Really? I personally thought Mercede's character should have gotten together with Ernest Borgnine's character. Wouldve solved no end of problems...

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