Starring Joan Crawford as John Wayne

RECEIVED Sun., May 6, 2012

Dear Editor,
    First, for Michael Ventura. Two things: First, I am trly amazed that you forgot to mention Nicholas Ray's' Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford essentially as John Wayne ["Letters at 3AM: Katniss Everdeen's Grandmothers," May 4]. Dear lord! Even the final shoot-out is between Joan and Mercedes McCambridge :) I've read that Sterling Hayden was so totally confused with the film that he thought that he was the main character. And the male characters had such surreal dialogue like "I hear you're the Dancing Kid." [pause] "Yep. I hear you play the guitar." Well, in any normal Western there would be gunplay at this point. Nope – guitar gets played; Kid dances. This is the movie that stands Westerns on their collective heads. Next, how can you possibly mention the great Liz Taylor performances and not mention Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    One last one from elsewhere in the paper – SubUrbia is not out ["Richard Linklater (Contemporary Film Directors Series)," Screens, May 4]? Criterion, where are you? OK, this film didn't really strike me when I saw it. But it is one of those films that just lingers deep in the brain. I have learned to trust that. That generally means it is a lot better than I first thought.
Byron Pratt
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