Nicholas Ray’s feminist/Freudian/Marxist western portrays deadly rivalries with a vivid, almost hallucinatory intensity.
Dir Nicholas Ray
With Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady
Nicholas Ray’s remarkable western sees bar-owner Vienna (Crawford) and hired-hand Johnny (Hayden) caught between a gang of prospectors suspected of a robbery and the local farmers whipped up by repressed psychotic Emma (McCambridge), who hates almost everyone. This portrait of a bitterly divided community – a Freudian, feminist or Marxist allegory? – was a rich response to the McCarthy witchhunts, and it remains all too relevant.