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Johnny Guitar

Courtesy of Webster Film Series
The Other St. Nick series celebrating the work of director Nicholas Ray continues this weekend with his cult western, Johnny Guitar. Joan Crawford stars as Vienna, a strong-willed woman who runs a saloon on the outskirts of town. The townies want her gone, especially the equally strong-willed Emma (Mercedes McCambridge). When the stage coach is robbed, the people pin the blame on the outlaws who hang around Vienna's saloon and ride to drive her off. The timely arrival of mysterious stranger Johnny Guitar is the only thing that saves Vienna and her business, but the problems aren't over. The colors are vibrant to the point of garish, several of the locations are evocative and the plot is a bit of an afterthought. Crawford is a terror throughout, and the whole film has an otherworldly beauty. Johnny Guitar is shown at 7 p.m. Friday, January 3, at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/film-series). Tickets are $5 to $7.

— Paul Friswold

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