The Outlaw: A Classic Tale of Love, Lust, and Rebellion in the Wild West

“The Outlaw” is a 1943 American Western film directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jane Russell. The film was notable for its sensual advertising and controversial subject matter, as it was one of the first Hollywood films to prominently feature female sexuality.

The story follows the adventures of Billy the Kid (Jack Buetel) and Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) as they evade the law and the attempts of Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell) to bring them to justice. Meanwhile, Rio McDonald (Jane Russell) falls in love with Billy, much to the chagrin of Doc Holliday.

In addition to its provocative subject matter and advertising campaign, “The Outlaw” is also notable for its cinematography and the performances of its lead actors. The film was shot in Technicolor and features sweeping landscapes of the American West, capturing the rugged beauty of the frontier. The film also marked the first major role for Jane Russell, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s leading ladies in the 1940s and 1950s.

The film was heavily censored upon its initial release due to the suggestive content and risqué advertising campaign. Hughes, who was known for his eccentricities, personally oversaw the editing and re-cutting of the film multiple times, resulting in multiple versions being released over the years.

“The Outlaw” was not well received by critics at the time of its release. Many felt that the film was in poor taste and that its sexual content was offensive. The film was also criticized for its historical inaccuracies, as it portrayed events and characters from the Wild West in a manner that was far from accurate. The movie has remained popular and has been widely recognized for its cultural significance. It is considered a classic of the Western genre and is widely regarded as one of the defining films of the 1940s. The film’s impact can be seen in many subsequent Westerns, as well as in the works of later directors who have been influenced by Hughes’ unique vision.

#1 Jane Russell, the voluptuous Hollywood film star and actress, whose underwear was designed by Howard Hughes (who originally discovered her) for her part in ‘The Outlaw’ (1943)

#2 Jane Russell posses for a painting of a portrait session for the movie “The Outlaw” 1943

#5 Jane Russell and Jack Buetel in a portrait session for the movie “The Outlaw”, 1943

#6 Jane Russell in a portrait session for the movie “The Outlaw”, 1943

#10 Jane Russell and Jack Buetel on the set of The Outlaw, 1943

#12 Jane Russell and Jack Buetel on the set of The Outlaw, 1943

#17 Jane Russell, shortly after being chosen for the lead female role in The Outlaw

#18 Jane Russell on the set of The Outlaw, directed by Howard Hughes.

#22 A lobby card for Howard Hughes’ 1943 western ‘The Outlaw’, starring Jane Russell.

#23 Jane Russell in a scene from ‘The Outlaw,’ 1943

#24 Jane Russell looking at ‘Wanted’ posters in a scene from the film ‘The Outlaw’, 1943.

#25 Jane Russell publicity portrait for the film ‘The Outlaw’, 1943.

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Written by Orla Morris

Full-time dress and costume designer, Half Persian half Italian. I still don’t know how to write, but i'm writing and you are reading :)

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