Film Noir is a genre that is currently out of vogue in Hollywood. Film Noir done right can produce great cinema, and if it’s done poorly, it becomes camp. Perhaps that is why most directors don’t try many films in this style.
This weekend, Turner Classic is featuring one of the great Film Noir actors, Sterling Hayden, in a mix of camp and classic Film Noir in “Johnny Guitar” with Joan Crawford. Not too many westerns are known for the “Noir” genre, but the great Nicholas Ray (the director of “Rebel without a Cause”) tries his hand with this quirky Western.
The dialogue is camp at its best/worst, with Joan Crawford hamming it up in the lead as she carries a torch for her lost love, Johnny Guitar. There is no way to describe this movie, it just has to be seen. Perhaps not in its entirety, but speaking from experience, there are many far worse movies out there. (See my review on Bad Cinema!)
I would recommend Johnny Guitar to all lovers of camp and Film Noir. Sterling Hayden is good as the stalwart, guitar-strummin’, lady-lovin’ lead known as “Johnny Guitar.”