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