rhys rosato’s review published on Letterboxd:
LOOKS ON LOOKS. This is definitely one of my favorite westerns but I still have trouble understanding why there are so many distractions from the main story: Vienna & Emma's rivalry.
There are just so many men involved... I really wish the halfbaked love story was cut. It's a distraction and annoying. Perhaps that's the point. Johnny Guitar is given the title while it's clearly a story about Vienna. She's peripheral in her own world. But she's graced with so much power in this film. So, I just don't understand.
The herd of brainwashed men behind Emma is a constant visual element. I love Emma's control over the men in town but I wish we could see her without them. I CRAVE a scene with Emma and Vienna, a solitary moment away from the testosterone. Emma's fear turned hatred of the independent (until Johnny comes through :( ...) entrepreneurial woman that is Vienna rocks (there's also lots of class privilege/ownership of the land going on too). But, Emma is never seen with a husband. Vienna also says she has the hots for The Kid. SOOOO Emma is a single woman well above the "rightful marriage" age of a woman in the old west. She's a boss ass, independent woman. So, it just comes up short for me. There's got to be more to it and I wish we were given more to chew on.
I'm gonna pretend like Emma is super attracted to V. A classic scared of her own passion and feelings.