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大砂塵(1954年)【西部劇・ロマンス映画】 Johnny Guitar (1954)

監督 ニコラス・レイ/Director: Nicholas Ray
出演 ジョーン・クロフォード、スターリング・ヘイドン/Starring: Joan Crawford‚ Sterling Hayden



Crawford’s presence

Yesterday’s film The Tourist was released in 2010. Today’s film‚ Johnny Guitar‚ was released in 1954. I don’t really know myself why I went back 56 years but when I read about film history‚ I suddenly “encounter” films and think‚ “Hey‚ this looks interesting.” This is one such film.

It goes without saying how well this film did and so on‚ but its influence was extensive and if it wasn’t made‚ the map of the future world might have been different. I think that this is one of those kinds of films. There are probably more people who know this film by the name Johnny Guitar than “Great Cloud of Dust” (translated from the Japanese title). The song composed by Victor Young and sung by Peggy Lee became a worldwide hit. The “Peggy” in Peggy Hayama is from Peggy Lee.

When this film was released in France‚ the literary group of the magazine Les Cahiers du cinema feverishly supported it‚ of which‚ Jean-Luc Godard paid homage by saying “To hell with that”. Perhaps he liked the female saloon owner protagonist played by “big sister” Crawford. He also highly praised Marlene Dietrich who played the outlaw boss in Rancho Notorious.

I think that this is because the heroine Vienna (Joan Crawford) was a new woman figure. Crawford had played various American women that fight for wages and promotions and in this film she raised her status as a saloon owner. Director Nicholas Ray ignored Crawford‚ coaching only her co-stars. She got mad at this and it was Crawford who demanded that there be a final confrontation between two women. At the time it was seen that it be natural for her to retire‚ but with Vienna and her gun in hand‚ she majestically played a never before seen woman who resorted to guns and power (regardless of whether that is good or bad).

In a Western town where the railroad doesn’t yet pass‚ wanderer Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) aimlessly shows up. He visits his former lover Vienna. She is a saloon owner. The townsfolk dislike her because she wants the railroad to pass through the town. Vienna’s love rival Emma schemes to stir up the town mayor and others to have Vienna thrown out. The townsfolk attack Vienna’s saloon‚ but how did she get out? Even watching it now‚ we can feel Crawford’s presence.