Wild Girl

dir. Raoul Walsh

TIFF Cinematheque - Hollywood Classics

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A backwoods vixen (Joan Bennett) laughs, loves and fights her way through the Sierra Nevada mountains in Raoul Walsh's hectic and hilarious hillbilly melodrama.


Recently preserved by the Museum of Modern Art, Raoul Walsh's funny, funky western is currently the toast of the film world after its rapturously received screenings at Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna and MoMA's "Save and Project" festival. As the wild girl of the title, the irrepressible Joan Bennett (who deserves a retrospective of her own!) certainly fills the bill as backwoods vixen Salomy, whose name sounds like a provocative cross between salumi and Salome. Playing playmate and brood mother to a bunch of urchins whose unemployed father cannot provide for them, Salomy spends her time skinny-dipping amongst the sequoias, fending off the advances of a creepy politician and falling hard for a killer being pursued by a lynch mob. Breathlessly paced and often funny as hell — the credit sequence alone brings the house down — Wild Girl qualifies as "an odd delight" (Glenn Kenny).

Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Fund.