Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald.
Although the film was finished and copyrighted in February 1941, it was not shown theatrically for another two years, mostly because of censorship problems that required cuts and revisions. By May 1941 the Production Code Authority (PCA; the industry censors) agreed to approve the film, but Howard Hughes found that many state censor boards wanted a lot more cuts then he was willing to make, so he shelved the film until 5 February 1943, when it was finally shown theatrically in San Francisco in the 115-minute version that we essentially see today. It caused quite a sensation, especially since Jane Russell and Jack Buetel performed a 20-minute scene that was cut from the film after each showing. More hassles about its possible release in New York caused Hughes to shelve the picture once again.
Doc Holliday just got off the stagecoach! Do you want me and some of the boys to come along with you?
Pat Garrett: Why do ask that?
Townsman: Well, I certainly wouldn't want to fool around with him if I were alone.
Pat Garrett: I don't blame you, but I ain't gonna make no trouble for ...
Doc Holliday changes position several times between shots during his first conversation with Billy the Kid.
Prologue: "The Outlaw" is a story of the untamed West.
Frontier days when the reckless fire of guns and passions blazed an era of death, destruction, and lawlessness.
Days when the fiery desert sun beat down avengingly on the many who dared defy justice and outrage decency.
The director's cut copyrighted February 15, 1941, had a running time of 123 minutes. After additional shooting from mid to end March, 1941, the producer submitted a re-edited version of circa 117 minutes for certification by the PCA, and was still denied it. In May 1941, the producer submitted a version with additional cuts (115 min), and was still denied certification. The PCA claimed that of 7 copies for distribution in San Francisco, California, in February 5, 1943, only copy #3 was in compliance with the cuts imposed by the PCA - which may mean that at least both versions (117 and 115 min) were theatrically shown at the limited premiere. Based on a letter by the PCA president, one may believe that the NYC September 15, 1947, re-issue with «objectionable material adequately altered» was a re-cut version running under 115 minutes. Meanwhile, the London, UK, premiere of November 29, 1946 of the «uncensored version» may have been the 117 min version. Various theatrical and VHS versions exist, accommodating different censorship and distributors' criteria, running anywhere from 95 to 105 minutes.
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