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  • Not too many movies create myths.

    Anyone who read Harold Robbins', "The Carpetbaggers", (some 40 years ago) which in turn spawned "Nevada Smith", gets a superbly fictionalized accounting of Howard Hughes. Such fiction prefixes reality. It took a great number of years before I finally saw "The Outlaw" - an eagerly awaited event.

    I've attempted to view the AMC-aired movie some three times - but got so antsy that I abandoned it. Few movies of this caliber have been so uneven. And yet it endures. Vintage alone gives the film status.

    There's nothing wrong with anecdotal (vignette) - points-of-view movies, but in "The Outlaw", it was like watching one of those lumbering, exasperating silent films: where the actors stand across from each other, and each speaks their lines as if orchestrated by an off-stage conductor. Spontaneity is not this movie's long suit.

    The actors: Jack Beutel is one of the most beautiful men to ever stand before a camera. His eyes are smoldering, his gaze laconic, his smile cheeky one moment and sensuous the next. Walter Huston is a young man in a middle-aged body; Thomas Mitchell (Scarlet's daddy in 'Gone With the Wind') is shifty, Irish, as conniving as Wally Beery, sniveling and crafty. And then there's the statuesque Jane Russell. Robbins gave us the intimate details of the suspension bridge-designed brassier - and Jane herself speaks of how she finally pulled the damn thing off and lined her breasts with a few Kleenex. She is as luscious as a near-nude Barbie doll, she is 19 years old, her lips inspire poetry - yet her voice is as monotonous as the Valley-inspired Val-speak of 25 years ago.

    I wouldn't hazard to guess Howard Hughes' emotional consistency in the movie, however something went hellishly wrong. Someone fell on his face when it came to editing and scoring. Take the music, for example. It's Scoring 101, embarrassingly manipulative, often overriding the dialogue and ranging from 'Pathetique' to 'The Lone Prairie' mélange.

    And then there's the acting: the Mexican senora rolls her eyes with all the panache of a 1940-Mexican B-movie bit actress. There is no spontaneity; she delivers her lines badly and with burning self-consciousness. And when Huston shoots Beutel in the hand, the latter doesn't even flinch; ditto, when he pierces both his ears with bullets. Staggering disbelief.

    As to the scene where Jane Russell falls for Jack Beutel and kisses him, it's like watching two trains headed straight for each other. Overblown, top-heavy, agonizingly nonetheless has the sexual potency of an orgasm. The music, the god-awful Close-CLOse-CLOSE UP of Jane's lips bearing down on the half-delirious Beutel. Wow, what power! The men watching this film back in (ca) 1940 must have had to cover their laps.

    I leave it to those with a sense of adventure to debate the movie's homoeroticism. There's no such implications from Beutel toward the two older men.

    The movie, finally, has to be taken for the time in which it was made. The cinematography is as splendid as if it were turned 10 years ago. It is impossibly uneven, anecdotal, horrifyingly edited, pathetically scored, wretchedly acted...yet the actors are painful in their beauty. Many of the IMDb comments suggest that the film wants watching several times. I second that. It can be slow, cantankerous, giddy, sullen - but Jane's and Jack's beauty are undeniable, Walter is everybody's favorite grandfather. Toland can be thanked for giving us the movie's clarity. --And Howard... Howard was just having fun.
  • When I was 14 or 15, I sneaked into our local flea pit to watch this film. Billy the Kid was every kid's hero in those days. But the posters of Jane Russell was the main reason that I risked getting caught. She didn't let me down. Her first film, and it showed, but wow, she was a creature from another planet. I'd certainly seen nothing like her. Having been brought up on Johnny Mac Brown, the Durango kid, and the like, this film was, at the time, a revelation. My pals all wanted to know how fast Billy was. Did he shoot Doc Holliday? Did Pat Garrett shoot him in the back? All I wanted to do was describe Jane Russell.

    I watched The Outlaw on TV this week, and was disappointed. Time had done it no favours. The background music, which I hadn't noticed the first time round, was truly dreadful (Tchaikovsky was it? mixed with cartoon type sounds) I still found myself admiring Russell, who for most red blooded males of my age has been a great inspiration. Like Shane, and others, I think this was a film of its time, and probably doesn't deserve to be judged by this generation, who are seeing it for the first time.
  • There's something in its very weirdness that makes this almost worth watching - which is a positive, because there really isn't much in the story itself that would make it worth watching. Best known as the film debut of a very bosomy Jane Russell, the movie actually describes a completely fictionalized friendship between Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel) and Doc Holliday (Walter Huston). According to the story, Holliday arrives in the town of Lincoln, NM and meets up with his old buddy Sheriff Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell.) Their friendship is strained when Billy shows up on the scene and Holliday becomes more involved with him. That's really where the weirdness comes in. Although Billy and Holliday are supposedly in a romantic competition for Rio (Russell), this really comes across as a 3-cornered homo-erotic relationship, with Holliday jilting Garrett for Billy. In the scenes between any combination of the three of them, that's really the sense you get of the relationship. It's truly bizarre to watch, which is perhaps not surprising for a movie produced and directed by Howard Hughes, who was already in a period of significant mental decline while he was putting this out. Hughes' OCD undoubtedly led to the very realistic and surprisingly detailed sets, but there was a lot that didn't fit well at all - including a dreadful musical score and some ham-fisted attempts at humour. The movie also includes surprisingly little gunplay for a Western. There's really not very much of interest here, but for Russell's sheer beauty as well as the over the top bizarre-ness of the whole thing, it gets a 4/10.
  • Bucs196023 August 2008
    And run for the hills is exactly what Howard Hawks did after Howard Hughes couldn't keep his hands off the production. Mr. Hughes or someone took over direction and gave us the finished product which is a mess but a lot of fun just the same.

    The build-up of Jane Russell (no pun intended) was one of the great publicity moves in film history. That famous shot of her lolling around on a bale of hay with her famous chest falling about was enough to entice most red-blooded males to this film And she didn't disappoint as Rio, the girlfriend of many, faithful to none. Throw in Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday (where did he come from?) and you've got a mix of relationships that vies with "Brokeback Mountain" for male bonding. And just for the hell of it, add some Indians which cause our heroes to embark in a cloud of dust across the landscape.

    I found Jack Buetel (or Beutel) a rather attractive actor in a wispy kind of way. Jane Russell's chest probably weighed more than he did. Unfortunately he never recovered from this film outing and sank into oblivion This film is about as coherent as a Marx Brothers romp but not nearly as intentionally funny. The whole thing is contrived, there's a lot of talk, talk, talk, and if there is some underlying message, I missed it. BUT, you have to see it for the camp's really more fun than it should be. Maybe Mr. Hughes meant it that way. On second thought, I guess not.
  • There are films that are great, films that are not so great, films that are bad...and then there are films that are so bad, so grandly misconceived, one can only gape in wonder or roar with laughter (or both) at their foolishness. Thus an awful film can sometimes provide more entertainment than many good films. (THE DEVIL BAT, starring Bela Lugosi, comes to mind.) Watched THE OUTLAW on DVD the other night with some friends, and we were falling off the couch. I'd always heard there was a homoerotic subtext to the picture, but this was no subtext -- gay porn must be more subtle than this film! Walter Huston's Doc Holliday (or Halliday -- I've seen it spelled both ways in regard to this picture) is CLEARLY the stud, Billy is a petulant young hustler who piques his interest (despite his having stolen the older man's cherished horse!), and Thomas Mitchell's Pat Garrett (Doc's "oldest

    friend") seethes with jealousy throughout until he degenerates into the very apotheosis of a passed over, frantic, shrieking old queen. "You're not going with him! Everything was fine between us till he came along!" It has to be seen to be believed. Hilarious! The film's musical score is the worst -- THE WORST -- I've ever heard. There's less Mickey-Mousing in a Three Stooges short. So I recommend this one highly for parties. I guarantee a laugh riot. The thought of the great cinemotagrapher Gregg Toland (CITIZEN KANE) laboring on such camp trash is depressing, but he did give the film a fine look.
  • michaelRokeefe16 November 2003
    Highly anticipated. Hyped to the hilt. Howard Hawks directs with the aid of Howard Hughes. This western depicts the relationships between Billy the Kid(Jack Buetel),Doc Holliday(Walter Huston) and Sheriff Pat Garrett(Thomas Mitchell). Cowboys, Indians and gun play are not the main feature...the debut of Jane Russell is! This movie was filmed in 1941, but it took two years to pass the censors due to the shameless display of Russell's ample assets(36D). Aircraft pioneer Hughes actually designed the bra that helps showcase Russell. This is also Buetel's debut; but Huston is the one to prove his screen greatness. Probably the first sex western. Of course the fade outs leave a lot to the imagination. Worth the ballyhoo.
  • THE OUTLAW is wildly uneven and overall a failure. A couple of points: This film shows how much damage a bad musical score can do to a movie. This idiot composer thinks he's creating a new Tchaikovsky symphony (in fact he plagiarizes whole pages from some of Tchaikovsky's best-known works). The music is hyperactive, overbearing, overblown, and ludicrously inappropriate to this tough, unsentimental frontier story.

    What does come across clearly is the powerful sex appeal of the two leads. Jane Russell, a former dental hygienist, supplies a sultry presence and bountiful bosoms in a pre-silicone era when such an endowment was really something special.

    Less remarked-on is Jack Buetel, an insurance clerk who, unlike Russell, failed to become a star after this film. But no question he is one of the sexiest young men ever to appear in a Hollywood movie.

    Some posters refer to THE OUTLAW's "homoerotic" qualities. I don't see anything like that in the story, but Buetel exudes such a powerful sensuality, he singlehandedly casts a homoerotic glow over the production.

    Note: I just read Wikipedia's article on Buetel. It says Hawks wanted the young actor for RED RIVER, but Hughes wouldn't let him do it, so he cast Montgomery Clift instead:

    "The film producer Cubby Broccoli who had worked with Hughes on The Outlaw, explained the reason that Buetel's career had been allowed to stagnate. He said that Hughes had coerced Buetel into a sexual relationship that began before filming started and which continued occasionally for the duration of Buetel's seven year contract. Broccoli explained that Buetel had refused to perform certain sexual acts and as a result had angered and frustrated Hughes, who was accustomed to aspiring actors and actresses being more compliant. The relationship was also described similarly by the author Lawrence Quirk, and by the assistant cameraman on The Outlaw, Lucien Ballard."

    Wow, Scorsese should have used that to spice up THE AVIATOR, huh? LOL.

    THE OUTLAW is no one's idea of a good movie, but it's worth checking out (even if you only see part of it)for Russell's auspicious, bodacious debut and moments, here and there, when the story actually works.
  • Ben_Cheshire13 March 2004
    I would have preferred if there was no plot at all - Jane Russell is gorgeous, and Howard Hughes' meticulous efforts to emphasise her considerable bust make her quite a thing to look at. I would have preferred to see less of Pat Garrett and Doc Holliday, and more of Jane Russell. Even in the circumcised 95 min version i saw, there are shots of her cleavage, very rare for a 1943 film. There are other aspects of the movie which make it racy even by today's standards: one scene which made it to the most censored version involves something we don't see again till 1970 (Altman's MASH), far as i know. A man is sick, Russell is told he may die, she starts undressing, tells the maid to leave the room and tells the sick man: "I'll warm you up."

    At times like this, there is a total fadeout to black and the music cuts out - something which never happens elsewhere in the movie. Its not hard to pick where bits have been cut out. I'd love to see the full version, available on the Criterion DVD. Plus, the transfer on the cheapie DVD i've got is not good, and Criterion always do a great transfer.

    The sex caused the production enough trouble, however - getting it banned in several countries, and neutered in the US. Still, there are enough scenes of Russell looking gorgeous here to recommend it to you for that alone (best bits: Russell standing in front of a mirror, riding a horse, wearing that green shirt, getting wet... you get the idea). The shot of Russell in The Outlaw's photo gallery gives you an idea of the sultry sexuality Russell had. That's a publicity still, though, so she looks slighty more natural in the movie. The western-adventure plot is impoverished and eventually turns into a love triangle with Russell, which i would have recommended to Hughes instead of trying a straight western adventure. He clearly cared most about women and aviation, and since this movie involved no planes, he needed plenty of sex to keep him interested. Hughes's frame only comes alive when Russell is on screen. Luckily, she comes on screen quite often. Still, it never seems like enough. The only interest the other characters (none other than Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday) serve is watching how often their eyes stray to Russell's bust when they're in a scene with her.

    Unexpectedly comic moment: in a shootout, one man refuses to draw, so the other shoots a big hole in his hand and out of his ears and he doesn't even react, as if he didn't feel it. I don't care how tough you are, you're gonna feel pain if you lose half an ear to a bullet.
  • OMG has there been a movie icon hotter than Jane Russell in THE OUTLAW ? I don't think so either . Her smouldering sexuality is the yardstick in which to judge all woman on Earth and the likes of Monroe are second best when compared to this definitive sex goddess . And to think some people describe the likes of Jay-Lo or Abi Titmuss as the most beautiful woman who has ever lived

    Unfortunately Ms Russell is the only thing THE OUTLAW is remembered for , which is by no means a bad thing since this is an absolutely terrible movie . From the opening scene featuring a sheriff who gives a performance that resembles a circus clown giving a portrayal of a homo-erotic wet dream to the final credits this movie is an ordeal to sit through . It's badly directed with tons of very poor acting and ridiculous back projection and is so factually incorrect as to be laughable . Did I say it was laughable ? Maybe that's why the musical score has a comedy soundtrack complete with a WAH WAH WAH WAH sound that belongs in a three stooges feature ?

    I would have happily given THE OUTLAW one out of ten but because of the presence of Russell we're treated to something of a movie landmark - We're treated to on screen sex . Billy The Kid ravishes Rio Mcdonald in a hay loft 30 years before Clint Eastwood did an identical scene in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and in a later scene Rio asks Billy if he'll look at her while he does it , and the audience is left in no doubt what " It " is . Boy this must have caused people to drop dead in their seats on its initial release .

    Despite the controversy it's still an awful movie though
  • I have seen this 'film', "The Outlaw", on a number of occasions. Frankly, I don't understand what all of the hubbub is about. The film is absolutely dreadful. Great talent (Walter Huston and Thomas Mitchell) is wasted in this film with an 'identity crisis'. It doesn't know if it wants to be a western, or a romance, or a comedy. Maybe it did introduce Jane Russell to the screen, but that appears to be the only justification for making this celluloid nightmare. Her acting talents are virtually non-existent, though she looks good. Jack Beutel is forgettable as 'Billy the Kid', and he gives an un-inspired performance that is something far beyond lackluster. One gets the feeling he is reading his lines 'cold' from cue cards. The film moves very slowly, is not particularly well written ( despite its hightly acclaimed screenwriter credits), is dreadfully acted, and is a very difficult watch, almost the equivalent of Chinese Water Torture. Fortunately, the film never takes itself seriously. And it's a good thing. It isn't the kind of film to be taken seriously !! I would recommend that it be shown in maximum security prisons as a substitute for lethal injection ! The film stunk then, it still stinks, and if it's part of film history, it isn't one of the high points, and the student of film needn't spend too much time here. The creative Victor Young music score and the innovative cinematography of Gregg Toland make the film watchable, but aren't enough to salvage this dreadnaught. Hughes shouldn'a had'da ought'a done it !! He should have hired a REAL director to crack the whip, and he should have taken the gag and handcuffs off of the writer and restored him to his artistic creativity. This didn't happen. Instead, some of the best talent of the period--both in front of and behind the camera--is wasted, and what masquerades to some as film history is seen by this writer as 'Film Misery'!!
  • In all my many years (80) on this planet, I have never seen a movie that comes close to challenging ones senses as "The Outlaw". With both Doc and Pat vying for the friendship of Billy the kid, this seems curious. Then when Doc shoots a chunk out of both Billy the kids ears, with no apparent pain or bleeding, wonderment begins as if to say, "this is really a cartoon," wherein no one really gets hurt or bleeds. Finally, at the tormented conclusion, when Billy the kid starts to ride off, stops, turns in his saddle to look back at Jane wherein she gives him a stupid look, then smiles and jumps on the back of the Kids horse and they together ride off. The end follows and not a moment too soon. What a goofy movie!
  • Ruddfactor29 April 2002
    Ahhhh! I can't believe anybody wrote a positive review of this movie. It's just unbelievable! This IS the worst movie I have EVER seen. This one is SO bad, that it would be an injustice to let the MST3K crew take this..... they simply wouldn't have anything to do because this movie does it ALL on it's own.

    The music is attrocious! The dialogue is the worst I've ever heard. It's just a riot from start to almost finish (because you'll be wondering how you made it this far when you get to 90min.) This movie doesn't know whether it wants to be a comedy or a western or a drama .... in fact WE don't either... it's not dramatic, it's not funny and it's barely a western!!!

    I'm recommending this to EVERYONE. It is NOT to be missed! I guarantee you will howl with your friends at the dialogue, cringe in pain at the music, and stare in awe at a movie that was somehow produced but not directed! It's a riot.
  • ...who think this movie isn't worth the time of day, I want to assert that it rises to an eminence that makes it the best western of the 1940's. Once you make an effort to penetrate the rough exterior and get the feel of it, you will agree that it is an unforgettable summit of achievement by all involved.

    In particular, there are two prominent points that engage my attention. One of these is the complexity of the interaction between the four principal characters. They are forever brooding over the most murderous resentments, then turning around and forming alliances, often amorous. This continual shifting of balance is what drives The Haunting (1963), and is what gives this movie its peculiar interest. Most westerns from that era have good guys versus bad guys, very boring; here we actually get something to think about. The characters are clearly defined individuals, and they behave with consistency.

    The other point is the musical soundtrack - it is the worst, I mean the very worst, in any movie. Tchaikovsky has never been so foully misused. Doubtless this was due to Howard Hughes' lack of taste, but the guy deserves some thanks for funding a movie no-one else would have touched back then. If the movie is ever re-released on DVD, there should be the option of squelching the music.

    Critics who knock the movie draw particular attention to the wooden acting of Jane Russell, but it seems just right for her part - smouldering with resentment and desire, but all of it suppressed by her need to fulfil her social role.

    So ignore the sniping from the boobs elsewhere at this site, and give The Outlaw a chance to capture you!
  • n_r_koch17 December 2009
    Made with big talent and deep pockets, this movie is almost as poorly made as an amateur film made by a rookie. The camera never moves and the actors don't move either. It is also surely the most flagrantly flaming movie of the Code Era, with the possible exception of COBRA WOMAN. Let's see, there's the triangle of a literally limp-wristed Doc (Hughes shows us this about five times to make sure everyone gets it), an sputtering old rejected Pat, and an energetic hot young buck (Billy) who also has time for Jane Russell. The three men do a lot of glaring at one another while they read innuendo-ridden lines in innuendo-laden blockings. The wah-wah-wah kicks in on the soundtrack whenever there's a really smoldery glare or argument. And so on. They do everything but hold hands. Russell isn't exactly beautiful by '40s movie standards, but she certainly is ripe. Hughes had the money to ignore the Censor, and watching it you can't help but wonder if all this wasn't meant as a joke on Mr. Breen himself. This movie is a little funnier if you see THE AVIATOR first.
  • I just saw this for the first time and I feel it's important to point out how absolutely hideous the music is. It underlines every emotion, is completely obtrusive, and it never stops. The most annoying thing about it is the trombone that goes "waa waa waa" every time something happens that's supposed to be funny. It's the musical equivalent of a laugh track and completely inappropriate and unnecessary, ruining a film that's pretty embarrassing in the first place.
  • cutter-1210 April 1999
    Easily a candidate for the worst film ever made. There are not enough bad things to say about this ridiculous and laughable piece of 40's kitsch. What Walter Huston and Thomas Mitchell, the two greatest character actors of the day, were doing in it is one of the enduring mysteries of the world. One can only assume Howard Hughes made it worth their while. But how they kept straight faces through the picture is still an enduring mystery, especially when Mitchell, as Pat Garrett, shoots off a passive Billy the Kid's ears only to fail in his attempt to get the kid to draw his gun. Bad, bad, bad...just bad. If not the worst movie ever made, definitely the worst western. Anyone who paid just to see Jane Russell in Bondage or her giant cleavage at the time sure didn't see much. Well at the time maybe they thought they did.
  • this thing is all over the's disjointed,and there doesn't seem to be a point to a lot of it.probably most largely remembered as Jane Russel's first movie role,even though she didn't have that big a part.anyway,this thing just goes on and on and on.there were times i was sure it was over,and it could have been,but it kept also plays fast and loose with history,as far as i know.Doc Holiday,Pat Garret and Billy the Kid are all in this one.i don't just mean they're in the same movie. they're actually together in most scenes of the movie.for me,when you add everything all up,this is a bizarre mess.i give The Outlaw a 4/10
  • Caz19646 November 2005
    I bought this film recently for my husband,as he is a big Jane Russell fan,i thought id give it a look.I must admit she was a very beautiful woman i can understand why men loved her,but in this film she is totally wasted,Howard Hughes has cast her like a real bimbo,unlike her later parts as the tough intelligent,wise talking,calamity Jane in the Bob hope films,for these roles she should be best remembered.The whole time i was watching this film i couldn't wait for it to end,it seemed to drag on not making any point at all,the story had a very weak plot and was really over dramatised,especially with the music,which would have been very suitable for a romantic silent film.Everything about this film was wrong,the acting ,the script,music score,you name it.The only reason I'm giving this film 2 out of 10 is because i feel very sorry for Jane to be starring in this very chauvinist mess.
  • Jane Russell and her bosoms got most of the publicity from this film and fortunately for her she got into other better pictures and had a career. The same could not be said for Mr. Beutel.

    But Jane and her cleavage is superfluous to the story. This is about two middle-aged gay men, Walter Huston and Thomas Mitchell, jealous over the young hunk. It's the only way the plot makes any sense.

    In Jane Russell's memoirs she recounts the difference in attitude of Thomas Mitchell and Walter Huston. Mitchell was moaning and groaning about how horrible the film was, why did he ever sign for it, the film would be his ruin, etc. etc.

    In contrast Walter Huston's attitude was I've taken Howard Hughes's money I'll say whatever kind of drivel he wants before the camera and laugh about it later.

    Also, I love Tchaikovsky themes, but I really think Howard Hughes should have hired Dimitri Tiomkin whose music really added something to a lot of great westerns to do an original score. Tchaikovsky was frighteningly out of place here.

    The Outlaw has to be seen to be believed.
  • Jane Russell nurses Jack Buetel back to health - but, that's not all.

    I've watched the film three times. The first time, I resisted. I watched with amazement… this movie has an incredible "look". I suppose it's a film made in the '40s, seen mostly in the '50s, looking very much like an early '30s "talkie" - but, ACTED IN SLOW MOTION! I wanted to dislike the film, but I really could not. I loved the saloon - reading the visible graffiti on the walls, never knowing who was going to shoot who, when, why...

    When Mr. Buetel and Ms. Russell tumble in the hay, I recognized the scene from a dozen subsequent westerns; yet, it seemed suspenseful the way Mr. Hughes shot it here. I could not really state there is a rape (others may); and, I think, later scenes imply there was no rape. I believe the scene simply ended with her shirt torn.

    There certainly is a lot of ambiguity! I agree there are some lines between the male actors which could be taken sexually. I caught those upon viewing the film during a second sitting. Early on, Mr. Huston wonders if Mr. Buetel might want to bunk with him if he doesn't "have a girl". BUT, Huston has Russell already lined up. There is also the age old question of whether the western hero needs his horse, or his girl, more. Of course, the western hero picks his horse! I believe these ambiguities add to the enjoyment of the film. They are additional things to think about during repeated viewing. During my second viewing, I just enjoyed the movie more… it's just so unusually interesting. With all "classic" films, I think about different meanings, and things going on… this movie has the ability to grow stronger thematically with repeated viewings. That's something I look for when rating a movie highly. A movie can take on a life of its own.

    I love the performances… Mr. Mitchell and Huston are older, more experienced actors while Buetel and Russell are younger. They all work well together. I especially enjoy "Billy" and "Rio" as she nurses him to health. The most recent viewing (today) had me wondering about how the peculiar "look" of this film was achieved. It's very claustrophobic, but has some "location" stuff. I watched those scenes more carefully. I watched Mr. Buetel's guns during his "exchange" near the end. I noticed Ms. Russell's attire became more alluring with each scene.

    I noticed the tombstone closing: "HERE LIES…" The tombstone is a "LIE". Could this play on words have been intended? This is a film I would call "chance art." I have no idea what effect the filmmakers were looking for - was it just intended as a showcase for Jane Russell's attributes? That was achieved. All the rest is icing. I submit that "The Outlaw" creates a unique and entertaining "world" of its own. The four main performers are riveting. I think "The Outlaw" is a world worth repeated revisiting.

    Next, I need to keep my eyes on Billy the Kid's ears, and see when the blood drops appear on his shirt.

    ********** The Outlaw (2/5/43) Howard Hughes ~ Jack Buetel, Jane Russell, Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell
  • The Outlaw tells the story of Billy the kid's supposed friendship (and arguments) with Doc Holliday, his battles with weaselly Pat Garrett, and his romantic entanglement with a big-chested girl who nurses him back to health after being gut-shot by the dastardly sheriff.

    A once scandalous adult western, this is decidedly less scandalous by today's standards. It's notoriety simultaneously launched Jane Russell's career as a sex symbol and hurt her career as an actress.

    The overblown hype surrounding Jane's breasts, the film's reputation for being a vanity project for billionaire Howard Hughes, and the high expectations attached to anything directed by Howard Hawks weighs heavily on ones enjoyment of The Outlaw, but this is essentially just a long 1940's style B-western.When viewed through that prism it's fairly decent, if unspectacular entertainment with good performances by the stars. However, I would venture to say that it would have been better if it weren't two hours long.
  • This famous western deals with the most noted gunslinger of the southwest , William Bonney , a juvenile tough, a teenager wanted dead or alive throughout the west . This is a fiction story of the strange teen-age desperado known to legend as Billy the Kid . Billy was said to be sympathetic , attractive and favourite with girls , these characteristics well represented by the protagonist (Jack Buetel) . He'll confront Sheriff Pat Garret (Thomas Mitchell) and Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) and falls in love for a wonderful girl (Jane Russell) . The film isn't based on real events , it's a fiction story by the prestigious screenwriter Jules Furthman with ironic dialogs and a plot with little sense. Thus , here don't appear Tunstall , Chisum , nor others roles , neither deeds (Lincoln county war or getaway from gaol) of the Billy Kid's life that have been treated in other pictures . Exception for historical character Pat Garret who has an important role , while actually Doc Holliday nothing to do with Billy . The picture is produced by RKO (Radio Pictures Inc) and Howard Hughes who at the time was Jane Russell's lover . Howard Hawks began the filming in 1941 and he shot scenes with the cameraman Lucien Ballard but had complications with Hughes and he took the direction hiring the excellent photographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) . However , the censorship made him to modify numerous shots takes . At last, after three years delay , public saw a daring production exactly as it was filmed , with no a scene cut . It would become a mythical film as an erotic Western . That's why Jane Russell , as she appears moody , mean, magnificent and terrific , too startling to describe , Russell was an authentic sensation by the time , she keeps her better attributes on the bosom. Today all the fuss seem totally wrongly . The film has real sensations , thrills , pursuits , go riding , primitive love , action , but it results to be a bit boring .
  • This movie is the Citizen Kane of the "uber-busty emotionally dysfunctional passive-aggressive mixed-message re-written history but-damn-it-we-are-going-to-make-a-cowboy-movie-anyway" genre. Almost no element of this movie makes any sense. No character is remotely sympathetic nor are their actions understandable or grounded in history. The dialog is trite and discussions swing wildly with arbitrary emotion ranging from violent to loving to friendly to sadistic -- sentence by sentence. It has the emotional impact of a fourth grade brawl. Jane Russell has two jaw-dropping modes: the busty pout and the busty smile. But somehow, though it all, we are willing to watch. Taken as satire, as a self-parody of the Western genre ahead of its time, we laugh out loud with the brilliant straight-man comic deliveries of all the principles. Taken as the Saturday afternoon distraction of pre-teen boys circa 1943 and the piece actually begins to make sense. Taken as the serious piece it was meant to be, we are left agape wondering how this plot every made it out of the schoolyard. Nevertheless, absolutely essential viewing. Brilliant and amusing -- when seen through the right filters. 9/10..
  • After years of hearing about this movie and my lusting after Russell in far superior movies, I picked up a public-domain VHS tape of this movie many years ago and was severely disappointed. It's hard to believe that any censor could get rankled over this flick -- Russell's publicity shots for the movie are far steamier than anything in the film. Indeed, it seems as though there's more of a, er, relationship between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett than there is between Billy and Russell's character. Critic Pauline Kael correctly critiqued that Russell "slings her bosom around" for most of the movie, very unerotically. Worth a look if you're still curious; then go watch Russell in Bob Hope's "Son of Paleface," a Western where she's far sexier than in her movie debut.
  • Stories of the old West abound and Hollywood is no stranger to putting them onto the silver screen. However, tinsel town is not very careful when it comes to historical accuracy. Take this film for instance, the original script was written by Jules Furthman, for a special project directed by none other than Howard Hughes. The movie is called " The Outlaw " and is supposedly one of a few the late Hughes touted as his best. However, playing fast and loose with history is sure to cause historians to scratch their heads. In this fanciful tale, audiences are treated to a make believe story wherein we have two western legends 'Billy the Kid' aka, William Bonny (Jack Beutel) and 'Doc Holiday' aka, John Henry Holiday (Walter Huston) arriving in Lincoln, New Mexico and becoming fast friends. Unlikely as that is, we are also treated to Sheriff Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell) who comes to dislike both men. Not because they are outlaws, but because they form a closer bond which many suggest boarders on the suspicious. Jane Russell is the Buxom bombshell Rio McDonald, who was the surprising sex-sensation and X-rated Eye-candy of the 1940s. The actors are likable enough and carry the fictional story along to it's rather slow, almost torturous ending. The motion picture has its ardent proponents, which equal it's cinematic detractors. However, the special reason why this film is sought after is due to its depiction of Jan Russell in a 'super' bra (Which she never wore). Indeed, I watched the movie with anticipation and realized in the year 2010 we have a whole plethora of "Full-Figure' want-to-be's who've revealed more than Russell ever did. I believe that were it not for the trashing of western myths, this movie might rank as a Classic, but as it is, many would warn its director to stick to airplanes. ****
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