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Film / Johnny Reno

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Johnny Reno is a 1966 American Western film made by A.C. Lyles Productions and released by Paramount. It stars Dana Andrews, Jane Russell, Lon Chaney Jr., and John Agar. It was directed by R.G. Springsteen, produced by A.C. Lyles, with a screenplay by Andrew Craddock, Steve Fisher and A.C. Lyles.

U.S. Marshal Johnny Reno is heading to the small town of Stone Junction in order to see his one-time sweetheart Nona Williams. On the way, he is set upon by two brothers who think he is after them. Forced to shoot one, he captures the other, Joe Conners, and brings him into town. His prisoner insists he is innocent of the crime the whole town wants him hanged for, and after hearing his story, will Reno believe him?

Tropes in Johnny Reno include:

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Mayor Yates boasts that he can lick any man in town, and attempts to beat Johnny Reno into submission. He doesn't succeed, but he comes closer to beating Reno than anyone else in the film.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: One of Yates' men is on the roof and gets a bead on Reno as he leaves the sheriff's office. There is a shot, and then the rifleman tumbles from the roof. The shot came from Sheriff Hodges, who has decided to come down on Reno's side once and for all.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: During the climatic fight, Joe Conners and Charlie the bartender are wrestling for control of Charlie's shotgun. They fall to the ground and keep struggling, then there a blast from the shotgun. After a few seconds' pause, Joe stands up.
  • The Cavalry: In an unusual twist, 'the cavalry' turns out to be the Indians, who arrive in town to prevent Reno and Joe from being executed..
  • Censor Suds: Some strategically clinging suds protect Nona's modesty when she jumps out of her tub when Johnny walks in on her bathing. She could have sworn she locked that door.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: During the fight in the saloon, Yates attempts to smash a chair over Reno's head, but misses and hits the bar (and, amazingly, the chair does not shatter).
  • Clothing Combat: Reno whacks Yates with his heavy jacket during the fight in the saloon.
  • Clothing Damage: While attempting to force Nona to scream, Yates rips her gown, exposing an expanse of shoulder and breast.
  • The Coats Are Off: Yates takes off his jacket when he challenges Reno to a fight in the saloon. Reno responds by removing his own jacket, and Yates sucker punches him while he is doing so.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: As the Opening Scroll states, the events of the film cover just two days in Johnny's eventful career.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Yates smashes a whisky bottle on a barrel and attempts to gut Reno with it during the fight in the barroom.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During the fight in the saloon, Reno tosses a glass of whisky into Yates' eyes.
  • Hysterical Woman: Maria Yates. Her every line is delivered in a hysterical scream, and her first act is grab a gun off a bystander and attempt to shoot a prisoner in the custody of a U.S. Marshal. She has reasons for her extreme reactions, but she comes off as unhinged.
  • Injun Country: Stone Junction is located inside Indian Territory. That makes the murder of an Indian inside town limits serious business, as it becomes a Federal case.
  • I Own This Town: Mayor Jess Yates controls every aspect of life in Stone Junction. Even to the point of organizing a mob to murder his daughter's lover and frame a couple of saddle tramps.
  • Karmic Death: Jess Yates might have escaped the final shootout, except he tripped, which results in him being shot by Reno. The object he tripped over? The noose he had earlier tried to lynch Joe Conners with.
  • Miss Kitty: Nona Williams. After Reno left her, she became a prostitute. Saving her earnings, she eventually bought her own saloon.
  • Murder by Mistake: Yates sees a figure sneaking out of the sheriff's office and shoots him; thinking it is Johnny Reno. It turns out to be Sheriff Hodges.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Reno would have ridden right by the Conners bothers if Ab Conners hadn't taken a shot at him. The ensuing gunfight winds up with Ab dead and his brother Joe captured. Reno hadn't even known that the Conners were wanted men, but attempting to shoot a U.S. Marshal sets in motion a chain of events that exposes an entire criminal conspiracy.
  • Opening Scroll: Begins with an opening scroll about the role of the US Marshals in taming The Wild West, and how one of the greatest marshals was Johnny Reno. It ends by stating this film covers just two days in his eventful career.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Joe knocks Reno out with a pistol when he attempts to hand himself over to Yates' mob.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Mayor Yates has deliberately whipped the citizens of Stone Junction into a frenzy so they will lynch the Connors brothers as soon as they are captured.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Railing Kill: Bellows topples over the staircase rail in Nona's ranch house after he is shot by Reno.
  • Reformed Criminal: Johnny Reno used to be an outlaw and gunfighter. According to Nona, he was released from prison to clean up a lawless town. In doing so, he got a taste for being a lawman, and is now a By-the-Book Cop.
  • Retired Outlaw: U.S. Marshal Johnny Reno is a former outlaw turned lawman. And he seems very happy in his new position, showing an immense respect for the letter of the law.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Somewhere after the Yates' plan evolved from lynching Joe Conners into emptying the town and murdering a U.S. Marshal, Tomkins decides this is too far gone for him and jumps on a horse and rides out of town. Unfortunately, he rides straight into the arms of a waiting Indian band.
  • The Sheriff: Sheriff Hodges is not a coward (despite what Mayor Yates thinks), but likes the quiet, easy life and generally goes along with whatever Yates want. Reno eventually forces him to decide if he is on the side of the Mayor or of law and order. Coming down on the side of the law, Hodges nails his colours to Reno's mast.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: Reno fires a shot into the air to silence the mob who have gathered outside the sheriff's office to lynch Joe Conners.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The town of Stone Junction is very keen to see that nobody looks too deeply into the death of Ed Sitting Bear.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: Charlie the bartender keeps a double-barrelled shotgun under the bar in Nona's saloon. He pulls it out when the fight between Yates and Reno is about to kick off, but Tomkins waves for him to put it away. Later it is the weapon he uses when he is one of the men laying siege to sheriff's office.
  • U.S. Marshal: Johnny Reno.
  • Water Wake-up: After knocking Yates out in the barroom fight, Reno wakes him up by dunking his head in the horse trough several times.
  • Zip Me Up: Nona asks her ex-lover Johnny to button up the back of her dress after she gets out of the bath. Leads to this exchange:
    Johnny: I haven't done this for a long time.
    Nona: Are you boasting, or complaining?