Should probably be called Johnny Gay-tar.
Roger Ebert ably tallies all the “WTF did I just watch?” insanity and inanity.
Not even the tedious HUAC allegory can ruin this “If John Waters and Douglas Sirk made a 1950s Western” explosion of weird…
Director Nicholas Ray was quite unhappy during the filming of Johnny Guitar and later admitted, “Quite a few times, I would have to stop the car and vomit before I got to work in the morning.” And his unpleasant memories of the production were only reinforced by the mostly negative reviews the film received from American credits when it opened. The Hollywood Reporter called it “one of the most confused and garrulous outdoor films to hit the screen in some time.”
Yet, in Europe, Johnny Guitar was greatly admired. Francois Truffaut proclaimed it “the Beauty and the Beast of Westerns” and the film’s cult following has grown considerably since its original release, making it one of Ray’s most enduring works. No where else in the Western genre will you find a film with such a hallucinatory quality, mixing melancholy lyricism, Freudian psychology, Greek tragedy, romantic melodrama, sexual hysteria and film noir elements in equal parts.