The Greatest and the Worst of Netflix: Johnny Guitar (1954)
Immediately as the film begins we are introduced to Johnny Guitar as he rides through the mountains where he witnesses a murder which then jump starts the rest of the movie as the townsfolk become suspicious of Vienna and the DKC. In this film a women by the name of Vienna has built a saloon outside the border of a town. She is then approached by 3 sets of people. The townsfolk, the dancing kids crew (DKC) and Johnny Guitar. To which the townsfolk then argue with Vienna about things they cannot control. This is when Johnny Guitar comes in and diffuses the situation and this is how the story begins.
1: This movie is brilliant.
There are many notable things about this movie that could be considered great or amazing however I would like to point out that the movie opens with one of our main characters witnessing a murder on his horse but we can clearly see he is not bothered and he rides his horse further from a camera to very clearly show his guitar and I need to mention this scene is done without any music which means as the audience we are meant to know what to feel and by this we can easily tell that Johnny has: got a past with this sort of thing as if it were a daily thing, he is not an average person and he'd rather play guitar than carry a gun.
This scene is most notable to me because it has no music to convey emotion which makes it so you can feel the mystery behind Johnny Guitar and it is great as the rest of the movie has a score which I personally enjoyed such as near the end I had the pleasure of hearing the very stereotypical pitch rise as we cut to a different character to raise suspense and the other musical element I would like to point out is the repeated song for Johnny Guitar and Vienna which is then joined by a great song at the end by Peggy Lee, who also sang in the animated masterpiece Lady and the Tramp.
However the music is not the only best thing. I believe the characters are written so well with exception of one who I found slightly hard to understand which was Mercedes as I wasn't quite sure what her ambition was but I will try to put it together through the 3 ideas I have but I will talk about that in the cons. I would love to mention the Characters of Johnny Guitar, Vienna, The dancing kid, Corey and Turkey. These characters were all very ahead of there time. Vienna was a very strong independent women however occasionally showing a stereotypical women trait such as she doesn't want to kill therefore she must not have the guts however this is immediately contradicted at the end as a believe a story of strength which I found as amazing but then Johnny also shows his occasional points of weakness as he didn't want to fire a gun but a the audience we have no idea why (Which I will get to later) which may have been a sign of weakness but of course that was contradicted but it was within just reasoning. The dancing kid isn't a 1 dimensional "robber" he is a man who is being blamed for something he didn't do just because he is a little suspicious as he and his crew had money but he had morals but he also wasn't a murderer which he never is but this movie is almost a action romance as Johnny Guitar and The Dancing kid want the love of Vienna but she chose Johnny Guitar many years ago. Corey and Turkey I would say come under the same boat as The Dancing kid as they are both perceived as criminals just because they're apart of The Dancing kids crew. However both of them seem like genuinely nice people and most of them even respect Corey as I think he is the leader of this crew or he is respected in some way by them.
Johnny Guitar. He is one of the main characters of this movie yet we know so little about him. We know he met Vienna in a saloon 5 years ago, he used to be and still is a "gun nut" and he is obviously well known as he changed his name from Johnny Logan to Johnny Guitar but when someone even mutters his name to a character who didn't know his actual name the music peaks and the character lights up with surprise and a immediate change of attitude and this is the thing I love about this movie. We know very little about Johnny but we don't need to know much as we find out that he is a good shot and such a scary man that news of him can travel across Developing America in a small town so we know everything we need to know: He gave up his past life, he has always loved Vienna and he is scary man. However Johnny is no hero yet he is no villain as we know he's done bad but we also know he wants to be better which we can all relate to.
There's one more great thing I would love to address in this ensemble of great things and that is the 2 female characters. As I said Mercedes' story did confuse a slight bit however her performance was brilliant but I would love to point out the contrast between Mercedes and Vienna. Vienna is a strong independent women who can do everything on her own where as Mercedes is a strong women in her own right she is not independent and as a quote from the movie "he makes her feel like a women" which she clearly does not like as she doesn't want to show weakness and this idea is way before its time which makes this movie even better. Even to have a main character who was slightly strong then was odd and very rare and it is so amazing when it happens it is amazing and beautiful because it is usually done great in a great movie. However it doesn't stop there these characters represent the oppressed and the free as Mercedes is consumed by her own emotions she is feeling oppressed as a women where as Vienna is free is attached to materialistic things such as her Saloon besides her love for Johnny.
Honorable mentions: This film was intended for 3D viewing. The 2 women actually fought in real life in their outfits in a drunken spur.
I only really have 3 complaints about this movie:
Mercedes was a bit of an odd story. i wasn't sure of the reasoning of her actions in the film. For example at the start of the film she wants Vienna to bring in the DKC because she believes they killed her brother which yeah would have been reasoning enough for murder and attempted murder but then they go to try explain it as she hates the DKC because The Dancing kid makes her feel like a women which is understandable why he would blame her but then they bring in another layer where Vienna says something along the lines of: you can't handle not owning everything around you but then there's 2 contrasting reasons as to why she wants them dead and both are likely as the land one is proven when she "rallies" the soldiers by telling them that their land will be taken but besides that she pulls off an amazing performance as a maniacal control freak which is amazingl
The sound in this movie is brilliant except once (as far as I know) where there's a cut to a different setting about 30-50m away and the music cuts because they're in the house and this annoyed me because it didn't cut well with the change and it felt janky and weird.
The dubbing of side characters is noticeable. This is either because they got lazy, they began to run out of money or the actor wasn't very good.
This movie is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone as I thought it was a great movie and deserves so much more attention than its given as its fun to watch and interesting from a contextual stand point which makes this a great movie along with the brilliant score and sounds and the amazing characters who are written with such care and excellence that its like a work of art instead of a movie and I would definitely put it in my top 20 movies of all time.
However needs to be more guitar.
As this is the first intallation of this article series I shall have an IMDB list for these movies ranking best to worst (best at the top). The Link will be listed here: