Johnny Guitar  8pm at The Cube
Headfirst Editor's Pick

"Must-watch revisionist western, initially reviled for its proto-feminist leads and OTT style that broke the genre mould. Now bursting out of cult status with its histrionic script, lurid colours and a truly twisted Joan Crawford, Johnny Guitar easily stands as one of the most distinctive cowboy flicks of the 50s. "

Join the Headfirst mailing list for our unbiased recommendations.

See event details

A event held at The Cube on Thursday 27th June. The event starts at 20:00.

Dir: Nicholas Ray, 1954, U.S.A, English, 110 mins, Cert: PG

Directed to within an inch of its life by Nicholas Ray (one of the key figures in the French New Wave’s critical re-evaluation of American studio cinema), Johnny Guitar is a berserk Trucolor Western, featuring a blazingly butch central performance by Joan Crawford, supported by fellow Hollywood weirdo Sterling Hayden (of later Dr Strangelove “Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?” fame).

Intended as a critique of McCarthyism, Johnny Guitar was derided on release for its overcooked style. But now, 70 years later, it's a beloved and admired product of the Hollywood unconscious - and a camp classic that is referenced both overtly and implicitly in Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (playing at the Cube on Sunday 30th June).


Hard-nosed Vienna (Joan Crawford) owns a saloon frequented by undesirables including Dancin' Kid (Scott Brady) and his gang. Another patron of Vienna's establishment is Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden), a former gunslinger and her lover. When a heist is pulled in town that results in a man's death, Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge), Vienna's rival, rallies the townsfolk to take revenge on Vienna's saloon - even without proof of her wrongdoing.


“Johnny Guitar is one of the cinema’s great operatic works, meaning it is pitched from beginning to end in a tone that is convulsive and passionate. There’s really no other film quite like it.” - Martin Scorsese

“Johnny Guitar is not really a Western, nor is it an 'intellectual Western'. It is a Western that is dream-like, magical, unreal to a degree, delirious.” - Francois Truffaut

Entry requirements: no age restrictions