Outlaw, The (RKO 1943, Jane Russell, Frank Darien)

The Outlaw Jane Russell

The Outlaw is an odd amalgam of sublime potential and fascinatingly silly result, now remembered mostly for one of the most famous ballyhoo campaigns ever executed for a movie.

Walter Huston and Thomas Mitchell were capable of delivering memorable performances, gregg Toland was Orson Welles’s preferred cinematographer, and Howard Hawks a more than competent director. Unfortunately, they were no match for mogul Hughes’s obsession with busty new starlet Jane Russell and a pulpy, virtually fact-free story line having something to do with Billy the Kid. Release was delayed for years as Hughes plastered the countryside with posters featuring a sultry Russell as he built a story of censorship and licentiousness that successfully reeled in the suckers.

Hughes famously personally designed and engineered a special heavy-duty brassiere for Jane Russell to wear. The ad campaign for the film proclaimed that there were “two good reasons for seeing The Outlaw.

Cast: Jane Russell, Frank Darien, Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell

Directors: Howard Hawks, Howard Hughes, Otho Lovering
Producer: Howard Hughes
Director of Photography: Gregg Toland
Editors: Wallace Grissell, Otho Lovering
Composer: Victor Young
Screenwriter: Jules Furthman
Art Director: Perry Ferguson

USA / RKO / 117 minutes / 1943

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