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The Competing Tunes of "Johnny Guitar": Liberalism, Sexuality, Masquerade

Jennifer Peterson
Cinema Journal
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Spring, 1996), pp. 3-18
DOI: 10.2307/1225762
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1225762
Page Count: 16
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The Competing Tunes of "Johnny Guitar": Liberalism, Sexuality, Masquerade
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Abstract

"Johnny Guitar's" allegorical uses of politics and gender are highly contradictory. The film mounts a "liberal" critique of McCarthyism that is undermined by its binary politics, which merely shift blame onto another 1950s bad object: repression in the form of a sexually pathological woman. This apparent misogyny is tempered by other characters' performance of Joan Riviere's masquerade, which ultimately validates a playful gender mobility.

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