The Outlaw

Jane Russell in a publicity still for her film debut in The Outlaw (1943).

Jane was the first actress in Hollywood best known for her physical attributes.   In the 30s the only female stars with big breasts were Mae West and Betty Boop.  Mae was already in her 40s when her film career took off, and, of course, Betty was only a cartoon.

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The Outlaw

Jane Russell and Jack Buetel in The Outlaw (1943)

The Outlaw

Jane Russell in an original publicity still for The Outlaw (1943).  Howard Hawks worked on the film for only a couple of weeks in 1941.  It’s unclear if any of his scenes remain in Howard Hughes’ finished product.  Howard was reunited with Jane 10 years later when she co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in Hawks’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

The Outlaw

The Outlaw is Howard Hawks’ 28th film, although it’s unclear if any of the footage he shot remains in Howard Hughes’ final version.

The Outlaw premiered Feb 5, 1943 in San Francisco and was quickly withdrawn.  It’s next public showing was Apr 23, 1946, again in San Francisco.  It finally opened in New York City on Sep 1, 1947 ahead of its first general release on Sep 12, 1947.

The Outlaw

Thomas Mitchell, Walter Huston and film newcomers Jane Russell and Jack Buetel in a publicity still for The Outlaw (1943).  Despite the veterans and the appealing new talents, The Outlaw is now chiefly remembered for the censorship battles over the emphasis on Jane’s body.

The Outlaw

Jane Russell as Rio behind the scenes of The Outlaw (1943).  Duran Duran famously sang in their 1982 hit record

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande

 

The Outlaw

Jane Russell and Jack Buetel made their film debuts in The Outlaw (1943).  Jane became a big star in the 50s, most notably in The Paleface with Bob Hope, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe.  Jack didn’t have much of a career, with only 13 other acting credits, mostly in westerns, and mostly on tv, through 1961.

The Outlaw

Jane Russell as Rio in a publicity still for The Outlaw (1943).  Howard Hawks began filming The Outlaw in 1941 but dropped out after a couple of weeks when he was offered the opportunity to direct Sergeant York for Warner Brothers.  The Outlaw’s producer, Howard Hughes took over direction.  The Outlaw is only a curiosity today for Hughes’ emphasis on Jane Russell’s anatomy.  As a director, Hughes is no match for Howard Hawks.

The Outlaw

Walter Huston as Doc Holliday and Jack Buetel as Billy the Kid in a publicity still for The Outlaw (1943)

The Outlaw

Jane Russell as Rio in a publicity still for The Outlaw (1943)