- Nicholas Ray
- Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge
Based on a Roy Chanslor novel, Nicholas Ray’s surreal Johnny Guitar has to be the most delirious of all the Freudian Westerns. Complete with a duel to the death between Joan Crawford—at her most baroque— and Mercedes McCambridge—in a performance described as “straight sulphuric acid,”—this intoxicating film subtly deals with society’s cruelty to the individual and is considered part of the film noir which infiltrated the Western genre during the fifties. The documentary Red Hollywood uses a scene from Johnny Guitar as its prologue, citing the film as an attack on the reactionary political climate created by the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings.