Movie Reviews. American Westerns. THE OUTLAW by Howard Hughes. Yareah Review by Dewey Edward Chester.
The Outlaw is a 1943 American Western starring Jane Russell in her breakthrough role as a Hollywood Icon.
While filming, Director Howard Hughes felt the camera did not do justice to Jane’s bust. He designed curved steel wires sewn under each breast cup to allow a larger amount of bosom to be freely exposed.
But contrary to Hollywood myth, Jane did not wear it in the movie. The “ridiculous contraption” hurt so much she wore it a few minutes, changing back to her own bra, instead.
She padded the cups with tissue, tightened her shoulder straps and returned to the movie set.
Addressing the issue later, she declared —- “Howard was not going to take my clothes off to check if I had it on; that’s for sure!”
Hughes found it difficult to get the picture approved. Century-Fox cancelled its release and Hughes stood to lose millions.
Ever resourceful, he created a public outcry for ‘The Outlaw’ to be banned. He phoned ministers, women’s clubs, housewives, and told them a “lewd picture” was being released across America, starring exciting new actress, Jane Russell.
The public of course responded by protesting the film, which gave Hughes the publicity he wanted. ‘Outlaw’ was finally released on April 23, 1946 by United Artists.
The story opens when Sheriff Pat Garrett welcomes his old buddy Doc Holliday to Lincoln, New Mexico. Doc’s horse has been stolen and he discovers it in the possession of Billy the Kid.
Despite this problem, these gunfighters like each other; much to Sheriff Garrett’s disgust.
This budding friendship does not prevent Doc, however from trying to steal his horse back that night, but Billy prevents him by sleeping in the barn with the horse.
Billy is ambushed suddenly with gunfire by Rio McDonald, out to avenge her dead brother. This is the movie’s poster scene that introduces beautiful Jane.
The next day Billy discovers a stranger is planning to shoot Sheriff Garrett in the back; but fortunately Billy guns this stranger down.
Since there are no witnesses the unsuspecting Sheriff accuses Billy of murder; not understanding why Doc sides with the kid.
As the pair start to leave, Sheriff Garrett fires his gun and injures Billy, forcing Doc to shoot the gun from Garrett’s hand. Doc also shoots two of Sheriff Garrett’s lawmen.
Doc and Billy are now “town criminals” and flee toward the ranch of Doc’s girlfriend, Rio McDonald, with a posse on their trail.
Doc rides away to divert them, leaving an unconscious Kid for Rio to nurse back to health.
Doc returns and discovers Billy has stolen Rio; but his anger subsides when Billy gives him a choice: the horse or the girl?
To Billy’s annoyance, Doc picks the horse.
Rio is angered both men prefer an animal over her and before they ride off, she fills their canteens with sand.
On the trail, when they find out the Sheriff’s posse has resumed pursuit, Billy blames Rio for the tip off.
From long range, Doc kills three pursuing lawmen, but the next morning when he wakes up, Billy is gone and Sheriff Garrett is waiting to take him back to jail in handcuffs.
Stopping at Rio’s ranch, the two men find that Billy, out of revenge, has tied Rio to a tree. Suspecting he will soon return, Sheriff Garrett waits and sure enough, Billy comes back and is captured.
On the way to town they encounter hostile Indians who force Sheriff Garrett to free his prisoners and return their weapons for protection.
He extracts a promise they give the guns back, but after eluding the Indians, Doc refuses to honor his word. He climbs on his horse to leave.
Billy stops him, and the two gunfighters prepare to duel.
Sheriff Garrett is pleased, expecting Billy to lose, however, Billy realizes Doc has been his friend all along, and refuses to fight him.
But Doc has been provoked, inflicting bullet wounds to Billy’s hand and both of his ears.
Bravely, Billy refuses to fight Doc and when they eventually reconcile, a furious Sheriff Garrett challenges Doc to a duel.
Doc makes no attempt to shoot back at his old buddy, and is killed.
Saddened, Garrett offers to give Doc’s guns to Billy, in return for Billy’s gun. This way, the Sheriff reasons, it will allow him to tell authorities that Billy the Kid is dead.
“Leave your criminal past behind, Billy,” he encourages, “have a fresh start in life.”
This is a trick. Sheriff Garrett has removed the firing pin from Doc’s gun, but fortunately Billy inadvertently makes a switch, and as a result, Garrett’s gun does not fire.
Billy handcuffs Sherriff Garrett with his own handcuffs, surmising that a humiliated lawman will not tell authorities anything.
As Billy the Kid rides off on his horse to freedom, he stops and turns back, to offer an overjoyed Rio McDonald a chance to join him.