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Johnny Guitar

In collaboration with Opera North’s ‘American Routes’ season, Lee Broughton introduced a screening of Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, USA, 1954) with a public paper titled ‘The strange case of Johnny Guitar (1954): female gunslingers and musical cowboys’. The paper opened with a brief look at Johnny Guitar‘s production history before arguing that the film’s present status as a cult-camp oddity is justified by virtue of its atypical narrative and idiosyncratic aesthetic look. The significance of Johnny Guitar‘s strong female characters – Vienna (Joan Crawford) and Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge) – was also discussed before the paper drew to a close with an examination of the enduring influence that guitar-toting Johnny (Sterling Hayden) has had on a string of similarly musically minded Western anti-heroes. The event took place at the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, on 1 February 2014.

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