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The Outlaw [DVD]
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Uncut version of the story of Billy the Kid, notorious in its day for being the film in which Jane Russell's ample cleavage made its debut. Russell stars as the half-breed girl who comes between Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and Pat Garrett when the trio meet up at a way station. Millionaire producer Howard Hughes took over the direction himself when Howard Hawks walked off the picture.
From the Back Cover
Howard Hughes, with the assistance of Howard Hawks, directed this version of the Billy the Kid vs. Pat Garrett story. The film scandalized the film censors at the time because of the sexual content and it took six years of wrangling before it was finally released. One reason for the scandal came in the shape of Jane Russell who, as the half-breed Rio, becomes the companion and girlfriend of Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel), who is fleeing the law with Doc Holiday (Walter Huston). Together they are being tracked relentlessly by an old friend of Billy, Sheriff Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell), leading to a tense game of cat and mouse, between the pursuer and the pursued. The excitement stirs many feelings though, and Billy just cant resist the attentions of the beautiful Rio who finds that resistance is not just futile but impossible.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is a highly fictionalized account of a relationship between those three frontier legends Doc Holliday, played by Walter Huston, Billy the Kid, played by Jack Buetel, and Pat Garrett played by Thomas Mitchell. Doc and the kid become buddies, in between feuding over a horse and a girl. Interestingly the horse is clearly the most valuable object to the men. An idea that would certainly not be acceptable today!Read more ›
The plot, as with most of its type, plays fast and loose with history, pitting Billy the Kid against Doc Holliday. The love triangle that forms between them and the lovely Jane Russell brings a sense of menace to the piece as one knows the two gunslingers will surely face one another off.
The contrast between impetuous but bonny Billy and the wizened Doc offers a pleasing, if predictable, platform for the film. As the two form the bonds of friendship, a tenderness for the characters and growing tension at the underlying love trysts keeps one glued to the screen. The brooding machismo is well countered by Russell's sultry mexican who sets the screen alight with sexual charisma.
Events are speeded by the town sheriff who, unusually for the time, provides the antagonist. His repeated and unreasonable attempts to apprehend Billy lead to the inevitable showdown where the Kid demonstrates his wits are as quick as his shooting irons.
The overall confection is too frothy and light to have a true impact beyond the diversional. For those who like a Western without the emotional/philosophical weights so often attached, you couldn't do better.
Hughes should have stuck with building airplanes.
THE OUTLAW may be a classic, but that doesn't prevent it from also being patently ridiculous. It brings together the outlaw/bad boy Billy the Kid (Jack Buetel), lawman Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell), and dentist/gambler/gunfighter Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) in New Mexico in the summer of 1881. Here, the Kid and Holliday get chummy despite quarreling over a horse and Doc's petulant girlfriend, Rio (Russell). In the meantime, Sheriff Pat becomes jealous that his heretofore good friend Holliday is spending so much time with the notorious outlaw Billy, whom Garrett would just as soon arrest or shoot dead for fame's sake. After being chased by the de rigueur band of hostile Native Americans, the four principals - six, if you count Jane's ... well, you know - gather round for a final confrontation. Here, Garrett's attempt to disarm Billy is so dopey and so awkwardly choreographed with unbelievably bad dialogue that it virtually reduces this sagebrush drama to farce. It doesn't help that Buetel's the Kid occasionally comes across as a young and sweet tempered Jimmy Stewart - someone you'd be thrilled to have your teenage daughter marry.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ever since I was a kid I had heard a lot about this movie, so I decided that it was time to see it. It turned out to be a pretty poorly scripted and directed. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2014 by Mr. Frederick E To
I was half expecting another one of the poorly recoloured versions of a great black & white film but I was pleasantly surprised by the crisp details and the colour being vibrant... Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2013 by Ryan
When Buetel and Jane Russell tumble in the hay, I recognized the scene from a dozen subsequent westerns; yet, it seemed suspenseful the way Hughes shot it here. Read morePublished on 27 April 2011 by Peter Payne
Like many films in public domain it can be hard to find a good version...some releases of The Outlaw are very poor. Read morePublished on 30 Mar. 2011 by William Taylor