A fast-paced, entertaining lark of a film, The Outlaw is known today mostly for the buoyant performance of Jane Russell, whose career was engineered by the film's director, Howard Hughes, otherwise infamous for his reclusi... more »ve millionaire ways. But more than that, the film boasts a set of finely tuned performances in the retelling of the story of Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel), whose burgeoning friendship with Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) arouses an intense hatred in Sheriff Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell, arguably the greatest character actor who ever lived). As Rio, Doc Holliday's girl, Jane Russell creates an irrepressible presence that lends an ample foundation to the story when her affections for Billy cleave his relationship with Doc. There are enough psychosexual rumblings to go around that the pace never sags. --Jim Gay« less
"There's no need to recap the plot's synopsis, therefore I'll focus the bulk of my observations on the DVD itself, since this is the information I look for in Amazon reviews of items of this type. This review covers the edition released by The Roan Group. The disk does fulfill its promise of a 117 minute running time, including credits. A running time of two hours is cited in the trailer, but I don't know that I'd call this an accurate indication of the existence of a more complete version; 117 minutes is awfully close to 120. I don't see any evidence of the extras mentioned in Amazon's editorial, including the letterboxing of credits, although I had no trouble reading them all on my TV set. I suspect the reviewer is referring to a different release, although I can't imagine which one. Roan mastered this release from what must have been a very high-quality print because it shows very few signs of age. The sound is fine--very clear with no need of volume cranking (often the case on older films, in my experience). The movie is an entertaining male-bonding romp with great performances all around and Miss Russell looks fabulous. Frankly, there wasn't a boring moment in the whole film--no complaints there. Another nice touch is its keep case; I'm really annoyed with the cheesy snap cases in which so many new releases are packaged. The lack of extras, however, is very disappointing, even for a budget release. One has the option to view the trailer or the film by means of a barely visible prompt, PERIOD. There's no menu, so one can't navigate the specific chapters (although they're numbered on the back cover of the case), and there are no subtitles ("Japanese?"). There's NOTHING but the movie and the trailer. At least one can fast-forward and reverse; I understand that even that option's not available on some disks. Despite this movie's being lots of fun, it rates fewer stars for being a little too bare-bones in this release. 3.5 stars would be perfect but since I can't assign halves, I decided to err on the side of generosity based on its being a really good transfer of an entertaining film. (Yeah, yeah--we all KNOW it's not historically accurate...so what?) A shame Roan didn't go the extra mile; so little more is needed."
"What, no kiss?" "Nah, he doesn't like mush."
CodeMaster Talon | Orlando, FL United States | 01/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say about "The Outlaw"? It's really, really silly and I really, really like it. The acting is bad, the music is worse, and the camera angles are downright hilarious. I'm not sure how much of the dialogue was intended to be funny, but I'm sure a lot of the bigger laughs were unintentional. Nevertheless, it's a goofy, friendly little movie that moves along at a brisk pace and is nothing if not entertaining.The plot? Well, you see, Pat Garrett and Doc Holliday used to be best friends, that is until Billy the Kid rode into town, and now Doc spends all his time hanging out with Billy which makes Pat pretty darn jealous. There's also Rio (played by the scantily clad Jane Russell) who used to be Doc's girl before Billy stole her, although neither Doc nor Billy care much about that. They do argue a lot about who owns Doc's horse, but otherwise they're pretty tight, riding around together, humilating Pat, and just generally having a good time. All good things must come to an end, however, and after a couple of shootouts and almost shootouts our hero(?) rides off into the sunset, proud possesor of both the horse and the girl."The Outlaw" isn't a classic by anybody's standards (unless you count the classically silly "Gun Switching" scene), but it is fun in a weird kind of way. Gazillionare Howard Hughes tried for years to have it released while he battled the censors (unlike some other reviewers, I do think the film is pretty racy for its time) and there's still about five minutes missing. You can sometimes tell where footage was cut, such as a scene where Doc goes to hug Billy (really) and after a jump they're suddenly talking about something else. Uh huh. Anyway, check this out if you're a fan of Jane Russell or over the top cheese. If you do see it, watch for my favorite part: Billy strings up Rio and leaves her for dead, has second thoughts, and comes back to find the sheriff waiting for him. "Why didn't you tip me off?" he irritably asks the still strung-up Rio. Great stuff.
Robert S. Clay Jr. | St. Louis, MO., USA | 03/06/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie regularly appears on local PBS stations struggling with a cash-strapped budget. Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) is a friend of Sheriff Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell). When Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel) rides into town, Doc spends time schmoozing with the Kid, and Garrett gets upset. Jane Russell's 44s show up with Jane right behind them. Doc and Billy vie for her love, when they are not arguing over a strawberry roan horse. I kept waiting for a logical plot to materialize. I was still waiting when the movie ended. This film tells us of the vision of Howard Hughes. Mainly that Hughes wanted to feature the natural assets of a young Jane Russell. He succeeded, points taken. Speaking of the white hills of Arizona, there is a weak attempt to tell a gunfighter vs. gunfighter story. There is even some Western-type action. At one point, Indians on the warpath suddenly appear and then proceed to get lost in a cloud of dust. Only in Hollywood. Howard Hawks assisted with the director task, but he just told the camera guy to focus on Jane's cleavage and left the set. Wearing a low-cut top, she leans over the neck of a galloping horse, and the camera angle is full frontal. This is not Shakespeare. The movie had a notorious reputation in its day. Obviously, standards have changed. This is only slightly adult material. Be careful of the "so bad, it's good" label. Sometimes, we overuse it. There is no accounting for taste. ;-)"
One star for each
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 01/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Having recently seen the 2004 film THE AVIATOR about millionaire aircraft designer Howard Hughes, I was compelled to see THE OUTLAW, a major motion picture directed by Hughes in 1941. My interest was purely intellectual, mind you. It had nothing to do with the director's fixation on the cleavage and opulent ... well, you know ... of its 19-year old starlet, Jane Russell, which sparked a spirited battle between Hughes and the censors of the Production Code Administration, delayed the film's release until 1943 (and almost immediate withdrawal), and resulted in subsequent edits and re-releases in 1946 and 1950.
Hughes should have stuck with building airplanes.
THE OUTLAW may be a classic, but that doesn't prevent it from also being patently ridiculous. It brings together the outlaw/bad boy Billy the Kid (Jack Buetel), lawman Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell), and dentist/gambler/gunfighter Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) in New Mexico in the summer of 1881. Here, the Kid and Holliday get chummy despite quarreling over a horse and Doc's petulant girlfriend, Rio (Russell). In the meantime, Sheriff Pat becomes jealous that his heretofore good friend Holliday is spending so much time with the notorious outlaw Billy, whom Garrett would just as soon arrest or shoot dead for fame's sake. After being chased by the de rigueur band of hostile Native Americans, the four principals - six, if you count Jane's ... well, you know ... gather round for a final confrontation. Here, Garrett's attempt to disarm Billy is so dopey and so awkwardly choreographed with unbelievably bad dialogue that it virtually reduces this sagebrush drama to farce. It doesn't help that Buetel's the Kid occasionally comes across as a young and sweet tempered Jimmy Stewart - someone you'd be thrilled to have your teenage daughter marry.
Hollywood never shirks from playing fast and loose with historical fact. So, while viewing THE OUTLAW, one should keep in mind that:
1. Pat Garrett did indeed gun down Billy the Kid in July 1881. 2. There's no evidence that either Garrett or Billy ever met Doc Holliday. 3. Holliday died in his bed of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, CO on November 8, 1887. 4. Russell starred in the days before surgical augmentation of ... well, you know. Hers are the real deal.
After seeing this film, I was amazed that Hughes managed to squeeze perhaps 30 minutes of substance into 1 hour and 58 minutes, and that Jane's ... well, you know ... caused such a scandal in shots that were positively innocuous by today's standards. At one point, after Rio falls into a pond, Hughes declined the opportunity to display Russell in full-frontal, wet T-shirt glory. I was crushed, but believe in my heart that Howard considered the option for a brief moment at least.
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't waste my time with this nonsense. I am, however, awarding two stars - one to each of Jane's ... well, you know."
I love this quirky movie
Marilyn Jones | Austin, Texas | 01/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, so it's not a "film." It has interesting little twists that are enjoyable and surprising and has some good characters, too, like the tia. Jane doesn't really act so much as smolder, but that's all right. I liked Jack Buetel even though he wasn't much of an actor (looks like he was in one other western and then vanished from sight). Of course it isn't history anymore than it's art! So I guess the conclusion of this review is that you may need to bring more forgiveness to "The Outlaw" than you would normally bring, but I think it's worth the trouble."