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 The Outlaw (1943/ Howard Hughes)

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korano
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PostSubject: The Outlaw (1943/ Howard Hughes)   Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:51 pm


*Director: Howard Hughes (Uncredited: Howard Hawks)
*Music: Victor Young
*Cast: Jack Buetel, Walter Huston, Jane Russell, Thomas Mitchell, Mimi Aguglia


Campy, silly, over acted, poorly made. That about sums up Howard Hughes's infamous second and last directorial venture. Hughes was intelligent wen it comes to audience taste. He knew that what people wanted to see was a stylistic and violent film filled with beautiful women with large breasts. So naturally, this was Jane Russell's motion picture debut. But aside from her and Gregg Toland's beautifully stark camera work, there is little to recommend in this turkey.


The film uses the names of historical figures such as Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Doc Holliday to tell it's story. Pat Garrett has recently been voted in as sheriff of a humble frontier town. The arrival of famed gunman, Doc Holliday, has everybody except Pat running scared. But that is because they are best friends! After settling in town, Doc meets young Billy the Kid by chance when spotting his stolen horse in Billy's ownership (having bought it off of the man who did steal it). but instead of friction, their is mutual respect and admiration between these two men. Pat isn't happy and runs them out of town after some killings. A wounded Billy is taken to Doc's girl's house where the drama really unfolds.


This film's main failing is not one aspect, the film fails on almost all areas except entertainment which is why I don't hate this film. But it is simply a very poorly made film. The story is incredibly weak, made even worse by an overlong runtime (116 minutes). So for nearly 2 hours, we get to watch bad acting and corny dialogue, while listening to a score that sounds like it was lifted from a Warner Brothers cartoon. But like I said, it's a rather fun film. I laughed out loud at the pitiful attempts at macho one liners and snappy comebacks. And the sped up quick draw is another cartoonish factor. But none of these aspects kept me from counting the clock until it was over. In the end, it is a rather unsatisfying movie that uses historical names which causes even more irritation when the historical characters stories and traits are ignored.


The one thing about this film that actually felt professional in any way was Gregg Toland's wonderful cinematography. In a poll of the ASC, every DP interviewed named Toland at the top of their lists of the most influential DPs. Having come off the well respected Citizen Kane, Toland unfortunately had to work on this big budget B movie. But he does his best and uses natural lighting whenever possible to great effect. Unfortunately, most of the outdoor settings were filmed on sound stages or using back projection screens. But his interior lighting is great. The recent colorized release does not do as much damage to toland's work as one might fear.


Like Duel in the Sun, this was another production that was meddled by an overly interested producer. Originally, the famed and telented Howard Hawks was to direct. But apparently, he left the set because of Hughes intrusions. Hughes quickly took over and made the film himself with his own Director's credit. But he was definitley no director as it feels like a textbook structure for a film. And the overacting also hints to his incompetence.


The cast does not so good a job here. New comer, Jack Buetel, made his film debut here as well with the starring role of Billy the Kid "The Outlaw." But he definitley fails at overcoming his pretty boy looks and turns in a pretty boy performance. Full of failed machismo and manliness. Jane Russell is equally unimpressive (acting wise) as the love interest of the two gunmen. Hughes apparently designed a cataliver bra for Russell to accentuate her cleavage even further. As if the frequent bending over didn't do that enough. Though she refused to where it. Walter Huston turns in perhaps the only adequate performance. But his past experience has definitley told him to avoid overacting. Thomas Mitchell also overacts as Pat Garrett. Disappointing from a recent oscar winner. And no, Ben Johnson, does not appear in the film as IMDb says. Though he did work off camera as the film's wrangler.


Since it's in the public domain, I would suggest you give it a try on youtube or any other public domain media. But forewarned is forewarned, don't go spending your money on this turkey.
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PostSubject: Re: The Outlaw (1943/ Howard Hughes)   Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:22 pm

Thanks for the review Korano!
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PostSubject: Re: The Outlaw (1943/ Howard Hughes)   Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:58 am

the best thing about this film is jane russell,thomas mitchell and walter huston.the film is slow dready and some of the acting is terrible.you only watch this film to look at the beauiful jane russell
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