Critically dismissed in its own time, Nicholas Ray’s radical repurposing of the Western genre has since been reappraised and championed as a visionary allegorical treatment of sexual politics and the Hollywood blacklist, described by admirer Martin Scorsese as “an intense, unconventional, stylized picture, full of ambiguities and subtexts that rendered it extremely modern.” Joan Crawford is electrifying as the headstrong saloon owner Vienna, whose unexpected reunion with a former lover (Sterling Hayden’s titular ex-gunslinger turned musician-for-hire) coincides with the eruption of long-simmering resentments among their fellow residents in an isolated Arizona cattle town, many of whom are suspicious of Vienna’s outsider status. Ray’s mastery of genre mechanics is on full display here, even as he deploys those mechanisms in service of unprecedented thematic and stylistic interventions.