“A man can lie, steal and even kill, but as long as he hangs on to his pride, he’s still a man. All a woman has to do is slip once and she’s tramp.”
However contrary to the catchy title, the real hero of the film is Vienna played by Joan Crawford in her outstanding tomboyish strong act of self made owner of the saloon. She didn’t have angelic face but no one can deny her strong presence as she’s the real hero of the film overcastting all macho men including her returned love Johnny Logan/Guitar played by Sterling Hayden. “Never seen a woman who was more a man; she thinks like one, acts like one, and sometimes makes me feel I’m not,” said one of his loyal worker.
First twenty minutes drama in Vienna’s bar reveals almost everything from plot, characters and drama and conflict that push the film forward. Apart of Crawford and Hayden’s impressive acts, there’s fine supporting role played by Ernest Borgnine as Bart. Nobody can play pushy sidekick in westerns as he played here. Watch his crackling provocation in ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ or Peckinpah’s ‘The Wild Bunch’. Director Nicholas Ray’s this classic western has a bit of melodrama and strong feminist text too; quite unconventional to notice in western. Ray made reversal in the climax too showing shootout between Emma and Vienna. The film has strong use of fluorescent colors especially yellow and red. Nevertheless a Classic western.