Wednesday 14 March 2018

On Blu-ray - David Hare welcomes the return from Public Domain hell of the Howards Hawks and Hughes THE OUTLAW (USA, 1943)

Billy the Kid (Jack Buetel, above, click to enlarge) struts his obviously tasty stuff for the admiration of a drooling Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) and rival in he-man lust Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell in one of his many man in love homo parts for Hawks and others.) The picture, of course is The Outlaw from 1943. 
Interrupting this story of total homo text up until now in the third screen, following the fairly explicit second screen (above) of Doc Holliday fondling Billy's "Rod", to taunt rival Garrett, comes the D-cupped Blazing Star of the Feminine Principle, all tits and hair, the sublime Jane Russell who takes this major hetero two shot with Billy (below) for the two of them to scream pure sex into the cinema so loud the censors lost their hats. Only Hawks could have made this piece of completely crazy almost continuously homo-coded tribute to one of the great western legends with both the producer Howard Hughes' guiding hand, and massive intervention as alternative director in The Outlaw. 
The picture is now out on a New Kino Lorber Blu-ray which rescues it from a previously PD black hole and completely unwatchable shit quality prints with something both more complete at 116 minutes and more viewable via a reasonable if not mint quality Selznick Archive print, now completely clear and consistent in 35mm quality. 

For sheer batshit crazy out there sexuality, The Outlaw ranks with the maddest of westerns and a highly enjoyable antidote to the forthcoming 50s with the arrival of so called "serious" directors like Zinneman with their leadenly wooden and pretentious "message" and allegory pictures like the atrocious High Noon. Give me The Outlaw and Johnny Guitar any day.

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