Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Johnny Guitar (1954)
(2021 4K Restoration)


Starring: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady and Ernest Borgnine
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £29.99
Click here to buy - Eureka

Certificate: PG
Release Date: 20 September 2021

Eureka Entertainment release Johnny Guitar, Nicholas Ray’s psychological western starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden, on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as part of The Masters of Cinema Series. Presented in a Limited Edition Set of only 3000 copies featuring a Hardbound Slipcase and 60-page Collector’s Booklet. Joan Crawford plays Vienna, a saloon owner with a sordid past. Persecuted by the townspeople, Vienna must protect her life and her property when a lynch mob led by her sexually repressed rival, Emma Small, attempts to frame her for a string of robberies she did not commit. Enter Johnny Guitar, a guitar-strumming ex-gunfighter who has a history with Vienna...

Johnny Guitar is a movie out of time. Unlike other westerns released before it, the protagonist isn't the title character of Johnny Guitar, but a female saloon owner who must fight to clear her name. This was terribly confusing and mis-understood by US audiences on its original release, but embraced by European cinema goers and is now regarded as one of the greatest western pictures of all time.

The Blu-ray comes in a hardbound slipcase with the film being presented in 1080p from a 4K restoration of the original film elements, framed in the film’s originally intended aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

Extras are pretty impressive, as you'd expect from a title released through Eureka's Masters of Cinema label. We get a brand new commentary by critic Geoff Andrew, author of The Films of Nicholas Ray: The Poet of Nightfall; A new video piece by Tony Rayns; a new video essay by David Cairns; a new interview with Susan Ray; Archival introduction to Johnny Guitar by Martin Scorsese; and Trailer. The package also includes a 60-page collector’s book featuring new essays on the making of Johnny Guitar and on female gunslingers in the western genre, both by western expert Howard Hughes; an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum; and archival writing and ephemera.

It was interesting to hear on the audio commentary that Nicholas Ray used the onset chemistry to get believable reactions from the actors. This was especially the case between Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, who were not keen on each other. In fact it's noted that most people had fallen out with Crawford by the time the film was complete.

Johnny Guitar is an important movie, historically, and is still makes for entertaining viewing. This new 4K release is certainly worth adding to your film library.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online