The Outlaw  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Outlaw is a 1943 Western movie, directed by Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks (uncredited), which turned Jane Russell into one of Hollywood's movie legends. The film also starred Jack Buetel, Thomas Mitchell, and Walter Huston.

Although the movie was completed in 1941, it was released to only a limited showing two years later. It did not see a general release until 1946. The delay was a result of Hughes defying the Hays Code, which set the standard of morally acceptable content in motion pictures. By showcasing Jane Russell's breasts in both the movie and the poster artwork, The Outlaw became one of the most controversial pictures of its time. Hughes even created a new type of bra just for this movie.

In 1941, director Howard Hughes, while filming The Outlaw, felt that the camera did not do justice to Jane Russell's large bust. He employed his engineering skills to design an underwired, cantilevered bra to emphasise her assets. Hughes added rods of curved structural steel that were sewn into the brassiere below each breast. The rods were connected to the bra's shoulder straps. The arrangement allowed the breasts to be pulled upward and made it possible to move the shoulder straps away from the neck. The design allowed for any amount of bosom to be freely exposed.

Regardless, the emphasis on her breasts proved too much for the Hollywood Production Code Administration, which ordered cuts to the film. To obtain the Boards' required Seal of Approval, Hughes reluctantly removed about 40 feet, or a half-minute, of footage that featured Jane Russell's bosom. He still had problems getting the film distributed, so Hughes schemed to create a public outcry for his film to be banned. The resulting controversy generated enough interest to get The Outlaw into the theaters for one week in 1943, before being withdrawn due to objections by the Code censors. When the film was finally released in 1950, it was a box office hit.

Ironically, Russell later asserted that she never wore Hughes' bra, and that Hughes never noticed.<ref>Jane Russell IMDb biography</ref> <ref>Seigel, Jessica. The Cups Runneth Over. NY Times February 13, 2004</ref>

Even after Hughes did an "end-run" around the censors, the film was banned on a local level by several towns.

The film was colorized twice. The second colorized version, produced by Legend Films, is planned for a 2007 release.


The film revolves around a fictional relationship between Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid and their feud over a woman called Rio. The film also includes Pat Garrett, the Kid's nemesis.


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