Women With Whips

Name a classic Western of the 1950s starring a great actress of the 1930s. She should play a woman of power and influence, maybe with a little bit of a dominatrix vibe. (When critics talk about the film, they will probably call it “psychosexual”.) It is highly stylized. Whatever happens in it, it doesn’t take place in the West of the United States sometime between the 1860s and the 1890s, but in the West of Hollywood movies, and it wants you to know that it knows it. Deep down, it is all about sex and violence. Horsewhips feature prominently. And the French New Wave was obsessed with it. Three movies spring to mind: Fritz Lang’s Rancho Notorious, from 1952, with Marlene Dietrich; Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, from 1954, with Joan Crawford; and Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns, from 1957, with Barbara Stanwyck. That might not be quite enough to constitute a

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