True Heroine

A third woman, almost certainly Hispanic, has a tremendous impact on the story line, despite the fact that she is nameless and classless (by virtue of neither of these details' being indicated in the film). Neither a whoring wife (Maria) nor a lusty soldier who never says no (Chiquita) can possibly aspire to the position of paragon held by Rico's late wife. She is a heroine, a true believer in the revolution who never compromised her principles as Maria has done by marrying the rich and...

Acknowledgments

Deborah Carmichael, associate editor of Film & History, was regularly involved in moving this project along with her usual tact and diligence. The 2002 and 2003 CD-ROMs from Film & History were edited by her and contain additional articles on the West as a follow-up to our international conference on the subject in 2002. (See the Film & History Web site for details about the CD-ROMs www.filmandhistory.org.) Susan Rollins provided late-afternoon fruit snacks and Internet advice....

From Sexual Object to Political Activist

The plot sounds simple, but it quickly becomes more complicated four soldiers of fortune are hired by a wealthy rancher, Mr. Grant (Ralph Bellamy), to cross the border into Mexico and retrieve his kidnapped wife. Two members of the rescue team are initially less than enthusiastic about the job because they had earlier fought alongside the kidnapper, Jes s Raza (Jack Palance), and he is a man they respect Bill (speaking in a tone of disbelief) Our Raza A kidnapper Rico Grant's got the ransom...

Giants Legacy

Like the lesson learned by Bick Benedict, the film's message altered the views of many audience members. Giant was particularly influential among future artists, writers, and filmmakers. According to Chon A. Noriega, In its familial construction of a new American culture Eastern liberalism, Western capitalism, and Mexican-Americanism Giant also anticipated the cultural redefinition of 'meztizaje' by Chicano and Anglo-American border artists (Alvarado 62). After seeing the film in 1956 when he...

Historical Discourse and American Identity in Westerns since the Reagan

Because the subject of this chapter is the variety of ways that contemporary Westerns construct historical discourse constructions that occur even when the film claims merely to entertain, and constructions that veer from the historical truth, even when the film claims to be getting at such veracity it may be worth starting with a rumor and a disclaimer. The rumor that there was a candlelit shrine to John Wayne at the Alamo. Bruce Winders, curator and archivist at the Alamo in San Antonio,...

Hollywoods West

The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History Edited by Peter C. Rollins John E. O'Connor Publication of this volume was made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Copyright 2005 by The University Press of Kentucky Scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth, serving Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre College of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, The Filson Historical Society, Georgetown College, Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky...

Into the Sunset The Persistence of Westerns

One of the more interesting sociocinematic characteristics of the 1980s was the apparently inverse influence that the presence of Ronald Reagan, the cowboy president whose rhetoric as well as his image engendered the moniker, had on Westerns themselves. Even their 1990s resurgence did not, for some, produce the abundance of texts that would unequivocally register as generic force (film's version of safety in numbers). On the face of it, this might suggest that it is a genre whose utility to...

Learning the Ethos of the Regiment through Initiation Stories

Initiation stories provide the plot device that stresses the collective nature of community in the cavalry trilogy and empire films. They provide the perfect opportunity to explain the workings of the social unit. As Jeffrey Richards points out, the audience is encouraged to identify with the outsiders who are undergoing initiation They, along with the audience, have to be taught the meaning and value of service, duty and discipline (Boy's Own Empire 156). This story structure allows the...

Manifest Destiny versus the White Mans Burden

The conflict between civilization and savagery is handled differently in the two genres. The classic Western uses this conflict as a justification for the process of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. In offering a definition of Manifest Destiny in 1846, William Gilpin, a soldier, politician, and promoter, asserted that the untransacted destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent (Smith 37). In these films, there is no overarching moral imperative other than the enrichment...

Miscegenation A Problem or Solution

Miscegenation was a key theme implemented in the film's depiction of discrimination. This was, by far, the most controversial subject examined by Stevens. The New Yorker considered the Mexican race problem a fierce issue for the film (178). The problem revolves around the marriage between Bick's son Jordy and a Mexican nurse, Juana. Although the relationship between the couple is portrayed as loving, they must overcome numerous obstacles. one of the film's strongest attacks against racism...

No Clear Lines The Visual Treatment of Borders

Like the complicating of the lines between ethnic groups, in Lone Star the borders between nations and the boundaries between present and past are shown to be fluid. Sayles uses a unique visual technique, a marked deviation from Hollywood's cinematic syntax, to make this point in flashbacks, he uses no break between present and past. Instead, the transition is accomplished within a single shot and with a moving camera (no fade-outs, dissolves, or edits). Conventions for representing flashbacks...

Notes

For a sampling of the major critical responses, see Hollywood News, August 12, 1930 Edward Churchill, Exhibitors' Herald World, September 13, 1930 Variety, January 28, 1931, 14 Real Sabra Weeps as She Sees Film, unmarked press clipping (January 1931) Richard Watts Jr., Cimarron Shows the Pioneer in the Wilds of Old Oklahoma, New York Herald Tribune, February 1, 1931 Howard Estabrook, This Amusement School of Ours, Hollywood Reporter, May 8, 1931, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion...

Paternalism

Giant further explored racism through the paternal attitudes exhibited by several of its characters toward Mexicans, such as Luz's handling of the ranch's Mexican workers. Throughout the history of Hollywood film, Mexicans have rarely been portrayed as being able to think for or defend themselves. The Anglo hero, whether male or female, typically stepped in to solve their problems. Giant zealously explored paternalism's role in the relationship between Anglo and Mexican Texans. Indeed, one of...

Professional Women

Schackel, in her examination of the function of women in the Western, has concluded that women's roles are imbued with traits traditionally considered feminine passivity, dependence, gentleness, and sensitivity, among others. . . . T hey must ultimately depend on a man for their happiness and security (196). This description does not apply to the women in The Professionals. All three featured in this movie are, on one level, professional women. They are not specialists in the way that the...

Revisioning the Historical Film in

Although by 1930 a few professional historians had begun to question traditional western historiography and the eloquent eulogies to white westward settlement exemplified by the work of Frederick Jackson Turner, the criticism tended to dispute individual aspects of Turner's frontier thesis rather than to generate an organized alternative to the robust and self-congratulatory history expressed by Turner and popular historian Theodore Roosevelt.4 Turner's postwar critics, historians Charles A....

Romance

Irony tjv rrow GitjaoN ointcr FD a1' wArarr n A buell-callagwan production Opera or horse opera Fred Scott in Romance Rides the Range. finishing his last curtain call for the season and arguing with his manager about what should happen next. While the manager wants his star to tour Europe, Scott insists on a vacation back to his roots in the ranching West of his youth. Establishing this binary cultural opposition, Scott's difference is remedied by the fact that his roots and his heart are in...

Scripting Modern American History

By 1929, skyscrapers obliterate Osage's view of the western horizon. Yet even amid this modernity, the age has become self-consciously historical. Sabra reprints Yancey's famed 1907 editorial excoriating the government for its mistreatment of the osage indians. The nation, on the verge of the Great Depression and a deflation of the shibboleth of expanding national success, looks back with a distinctly sentimentalized attitude toward the past. Sabra's racism has been transformed by comfortable...

The Cinematic West

Textbooks and monographs are not the only, or even necessarily the best, places for observing the intimate role that the West has played in shaping American history and culture. As noted previously, representations have also appeared in novels and short stories, in oft-told and retold legends and traditional tales, even on radio, where, for example, the Lone Ranger got his start as early as 1933 (see chapter 3). Several of the earliest memorable film productions were Westerns, including,...

The End of Consensus and of The Lawandorder Western

In The End of Victory Culture, Tom Engelhardt offers the theories of conspiracy surrounding the death of John Kennedy as an example of how much the American public had come to distrust the establishment by the mid-1960s. He notes that this event, the most significant cultural touchstone since Pearl Harbor, seemed open to any interpretation except the most obvious anti-Communist one (184). The cold war consensus could not hold in the face of a government that seemed to be engaging in many of the...

The First Films and Television Productions

Visual programming capitalized on this radio success. Serialized films from Republic studios came with The Lone Ranger (1938),3 which was quickly followed by another fifteen-part compilation called The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939). Exploiting George Trendle's open-ended license for the serials, Republic played loose with the character. In The Lone Ranger five actors acted as if they might be the Ranger, each wearing identical clothes, hats, and alternately the distinctive mask taking it on...

The Heroic Mythology of the Genesis

At the Lone Ranger's birth on the radio a voice announces This is the legend of a man who buried his identity to dedicate his life to the service of humanity and country. . . . Early settlers in the West had to be brave men and women. . . . There was danger on every side, wild beasts, savage Indians, and the Cavendish gang (Origin). Butch Cavendish is an outlaw whose rogues terrorize the whole Southwest. Pursuing Cavendish, a group of six Texas Rangers led by Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger's...

The Rangers Birth and Early Life

In the beginning, radio station owner George W. Trendle, writer Fran Striker, and WXYZ drama director James Jewell1 aimed the Lone Ranger toward a juvenile audience. The series, which eventually drew in many voices, hands, and faces, never wavered from its youthful focus during its greatest commercial successes from 1933 to 1957. For children, the repetitive structure and simply polarized moral world were appealing.2 Each thirty-minute radio episode was bookended by Rossini's overture to...

What Is the Ranger Legacy

Like any other multigenerational mythic enterprise, the Ranger generated several legacies, ranging from a favored place in the world of collectibles and radio nostalgia to the stinging phrase expressing disapproval. To the extent that he is acknowledged at all, he represents a child phase in radio, comic books, television, and the Saturday matinee Western B movie and a style of action that is unacceptable. As John Cawelti observed, Children can accept a Lone Ranger, but, for most adults, such a...

Women and Influence

The professionals' turnaround occurs for a number of reasons, two of which can be attributed to women. First, there is the dead but hardly forgotten Mrs. Fardan, heroine and saint of the revolution they supported, whose memory is still cherished by the two members of the group (Rico and Bill) who knew her as a friend, a revolutionary comrade, and, in Rico's case, as a wife. Although she represents one reason that they turned away from the revolution, she also symbolizes a faith that never dies....

Women in The Professionals

Lee Clark Mitchell begins his book on Westerns with the following iconic description The image remains unaltered in countless versions from the genre's beginning a lone man packing a gun, astride a horse, hat pulled close to the eyes, emerging as ifby magic out of a landscape from which he seems ineluctably a part (3). Mitchell's words may cause readers to visualize the Marlboro Man more important, they also evoke a scene from any number of Western films that everyone recognizes, a scene...

Works Cited

Howard Hawks The Grey Fox of Hollywood. New York Grove, 1997. Mulvey, Laura. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Anita Loos Howard Hawks Marilyn Monroe. In Howard Hawks American Artist, edited by Jim Hillier and Peter Wollen, 214-29. London British Film Institute, 1996. Sklar, Robert. Empire to the West Red River (1948). In American History American Film Interpreting the Hollywood Image, edited by John E. O'Connor and Martin A. Jackson, 167-81. New York Ungar, 1979. Wise, Naomi. The...

Conclusion The Frontier and la Frontera Coexist

At the end of Lone Star, after it has been revealed that Buddy Deeds did not kill Charley Wade, Sam, Otis, and Hollis must decide what to do. Otis comments on how the truth has been hidden over the years Time went on, people liked the story we told better than anything the truth might have been. Hollis remarks that if word gets out about the identity of the body that was found at the rifle range, people will believe that Buddy killed Charley Wade. Sam remarks Buddy's a goddam legend. He can...

The Community as a Melting

In John Ford's trilogy, the key aspect of assimilation into the regiment is accommodation for individuals. Classic conflicts such as East versus West and wealth privilege versus ordinary folk find resolution. In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, the rivals for Miss Dandridge's affection are opposites. Lieutenant Pennell is an easterner from a wealthy family who constantly gripes and threatens to leave the cavalry. Lieutenant Cohill is a westerner and dependent on his army pay for a living. These two...

West Less Certain

Second looks like these, attempts to understand how cultural pieces came together to create the various aspects of Jed Buell's West, are revealing. The motives of audience share and profit certainly cannot be underestimated, but to view Buell's West with a single lens is limiting. Was he a man with a gimmick The man who knew how to draw box office Probably. But he did so in ways that shed light on cultural, social, and political issues of the time. Whether bringing to light the sharp divide...

The Role of Women

It is significant that in both the imperial films and the cavalry trilogy some of the newcomers to army life are women, demonstrating their importance within the social unit. The representation of women here is different from their role in the classic Western. In the Western, one of the oppositional conflicts is between the hero's independence and his integration into the community signified by marriage. Such films draw a sharp line between the man's world and the domestic sphere. This division...

History as a Process

In Lone Star, Sayles presents history as a process it is embodied in the searches and transformations of different characters as they investigate personal and collective pasts. In this sense, Lone Star is a film not only about history but also about the uses that people assign to history. A major plot line concerns Anglo-American Sheriff Sam Deeds and his relationship to his father, the well-loved Sheriff Buddy Deeds. On the abandoned rifle range of the opening scene, evidence of a potential...

Transformations in American Popular Political Culture during the Cold

High Noon (1952) was a landmark artifact of American popular political culture of the cold war. Screenwriter Carl Foreman intended it as a commentary on Hollywood's capitulation to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Director Fred Zinnemann and star Gary Cooper shared the view that the film celebrated the nobility of the individual in the face of a failed public morality (Whitfield 147-48). John Wayne, the film star and conservative archetype of the period, declared it...

Classics on the Western The Evolving Scholarly Vision

Many of us became interested in the study of the Western after reading Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land The American West as Symbol and Myth, first published by the Harvard University Press in 1950. As Smith explained in his preface to the twentieth-anniversary printing, I wanted to protest against the common usage of the term 'myth' to mean simply erroneous belief, and to insist that the relationship between the imaginative constructions I was dealing with and the history of the West in the...

Engaging Audiences through Genre and Themes

Randy Smith, a member of the Western Writers of America,1 states that some of the best recent Westerns have been totally the provenance of the cable television industry. He asserts that while the major motion picture studios are stymied by marketing conservatism, cable networks, like Turner Network Television (TNT), have been producing Westerns that are truly representative of the best qualities of the genre. Ted Mahar echoes Smith's claim by declaring that the network's Monte Walsh (2003) is...

The West Westerns and American Character

There is no more characteristic American art form than the Western film. Even when it is produced in Italy, Finland, East Germany, Hungary, Australia, or Japan, there is no mistaking the American institutions that are being represented or the distinctively American character types portrayed. Scholars have been interested in the wide variety of Western stories and representations of the West for generations. Consider The West of the Imagination, a 1986 PBS television series focusing on...

Cimarron as a Counterhistory

The film's next text insert occurs after the land rush as Yancey, Sabra (RKO's recent acquisition Irene Dunne), and son Cimarron arrive in Osage, Oklahoma. The title reads, The boomer town of Osage a population of 10,000 in six weeks. Again, a series of images follows which complicates the progress and optimism inherent in the town's population growth. A half-breed shoots a man in front of a saloon, a lawyer cheats his clients, and a pioneering husband and wife work through the night to erect...

The Drifter

Devil's Doorway tells the story of Broken Lance, or Lance Poole (Robert Taylor), a Shoshone Indian and decorated Civil War veteran who returns to his tribe's ancestral land, a valley called Sweet Meadows, only to find that unchecked prejudice and greed have come with Wyoming's territorial incorporation and the railroad. Under the Homestead Act, whites could file homestead claims but Indians could not as a result, Lance is unable to claim ownership of Sweet Meadows though he has worked the land...

Reflection of Post World War II Concerns

Many critics have discussed the role of genre films in exploring contemporary conflicts and concerns. The Hollywood-produced British Empire films of the 1930s explored America's concerns about its role in looming international struggles. Slotkin sums up the genre's function regarding America's self-image These movies mythologized popularized and made intelligible in traditional terms a major ideological shift in American politics, away from isolationism and toward preparedness for engagement in...

Deconstructing the Film Themes and Dialogue

Ferber's concern with the unjust treatment of minorities, combined with that of Stevens, is clearly visible in the motion picture Giant. What becomes evident from the moment the film begins is that the racist attitudes expressed by characters in the film are by no means shared by the film's creators (Griffith 19). Despite the watered-down nature of the script, the film maintained the book's viewpoint that anti-Mexican racism was a problem in Texas. Giant was intended as a social critique of...

The West as Myth and Symbol

Indeed, throughout its history, American culture would be almost unimaginable without the West as a touchstone of national identity. The novels of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) identified the basic character types for the genre and stated for all time America's apprehensions about the loss of a natural frontier a fear embodied in the lectures of old Leatherstocking (Natty Bumppo) and most memorably stated in Cooper's third novel, The Pioneers (1823). At the same time Cooper was putting to...

This Is Sort of How It Really Happened Tombstone and Paracinematic Verification

Tombstone offers yet another strategy and sense of historical discourse in Westerns by using what I call paracinematic verification. This is the use of passages from other actual fictional narratives as if they were documentary film footage to construct a field of reference internal to the viewer's experience of the film, but not necessarily to the film's story. It can also be seen in John Wayne's last film, Don Siegel's The Shootist (1976), and in Philip Borsos's The Grey Fox (1982) and...

Broken Arrows Clear Talk

In Broken Arrow, Tom Jeffords (Jimmy Stewart) befriends Cochise (Jeff Chandler) and negotiates a peace between the Apaches and settlers in the 1870s. The film depicts a mixed-race couple (Jeffords and his Apache child bride, Sonseeahray, played by Debra Paget) attempting to heal social rifts through their union, but peace comes only when the bond is broken and the Native American partner is sacrificed. Although the film's successful peace talks allude to the possibility of both assimilation and...

From Comedy to Cowboys

Jed Buell began his career in the movie industry in the early 1900s, as manager of the Orpheum Theater in Denver. Seeking relief from Colorado's altitude, he moved to Hollywood in his twenties and landed a job with Mack Sennett, the King of Comedy. Over time, Buell advanced from unit publicist to publicity director for Sennett's popular Keystone Studios known for the antics of the Keystone Cops, risqu bathing beauties, lions on leashes, and the master of silent comedy, Charlie Chaplin. When the...

Terms of Circulation

In contrast to Broken Arrow's self-consciously talky style, Devil's Doorway tells its story primarily through visual composition, noir stylistics, and costume. Jeanine Basinger calls Devil's Doorway and The Furies (1950) Anthony Mann's transitional films as he moved from his noir period (T-Men 1947 , Raw Deal 1948 ) of the late 1940s to his Western genre decade of the 1950s. Mann directed a series of films in the late 1940s and early 1950s with startlingly similar themes involving illegal or...

Jed Buells Unconventional West

In the 1930s, a different kind ofWest appeared on Hollywood's Poverty Row. It was a West animated by little people brawling in barrooms, a black hero singing his way into the heart of the rancher's daughter, an opera singer-turned-cowboy, and a penguin. It was Jed Buell's West. Little recognition is given to Buell for leaving his imprint on the Western musical as a genre. Credited with producing only about a dozen singing cowboy films, all released between 1936 and 1940, he was undoubtedly not...

Facts versus Meaning The Historiographical Potential of Westerns

But to what extent does it matter if Tom Mix did or did not weep, if Wyatt Earp did or did not write a book about Doc Holliday, or if Earp did or did not save a particular person from an angry lynch mob Here it is important to clarify the different levels on which accuracy must be considered specific to the Western factual, or material, accuracy and discursive accuracy. First, material accuracy it will be true or not true that Wyatt Earp used a particular kind of pistol at the O.K. Corral...

Dancing versus Walking The Nostalgic the Radical and the Corrective Western

Three films succinctly illustrate the range of historicity in Westerns since the waning Reagan years Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves, Alex Cox's Walker, and Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. Dances with Wolves is not a movie about a real person, but it aspires to be far more than a period or genre piece. Walker describes the antics of real-life nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny poster boy William Walker (Ed Harris). Tombstone claims to rehistoricize an American story so...

Disintegrating Indian Nations

In Devil's Doorway, the successfully assimilated Indian is rejected by whites in power, and those Indians who have gone to the reservation are driven in desperation to leave it, saying, We will die, but we will never go back to the reservation. This is the double bind that Devil's Doorway presents Indians cannot assimilate and cannot be contained, but instead are forced into a hopeless and violent conflict with the settler community. In the film, prejudicial laws and attitudes bar Lance from...

Fred Scott The Silvery Voiced Buckaroo

The first voice to be heard in Jed Buell's West was that of Fred Scott. In the mid-1930s, the popularity of the B Western was waning, until Nat Levine's Mascot studios produced a song-infUsed serial, The Phantom Empire (1935), starring former WLS Barn Dance radio performer Gene Autry. Autry's success as a cowboy crooner, first in Empire (1935), then, in rapid succession that same year, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Melody Trail, The Sagebrush Troubadour, and Singing Vagabond, sent rival studios rushing...

Charting Unfamiliar Cinematic Terrain

John Sayles was particularly well positioned to take on a rewriting of the Western story. Early successes with Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Matewan (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), and City of Hope (1991) earned Sayles a reputation as a writer and director of thought-provoking films in an industry dominated by formulas.4 Passion Fish (1992) and The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), the two works that immediately preceded Lone Star, served to cement that...

The Novel Beginnings and Controversy

The product of thirteen years of research, including several excursions to the region, Ferber's Giant evolved from the writer's interest in the larger-than-life aura of everything Texan and the lore of the West (Hendler 115-16). During one of her trips Ferber accompanied a Corpus Christi, Texas, doctor named Hector P. Garcia on his rounds. Primarily a physician for the Mexican community, Garcia allowed Ferber to communicate with his patients about their lives and experiences. Through such...

High Noon and Its Legacy

The law-and-order film, of which High Noon is the progenitor, consists of several key elements. A central character is the town, the name of which provides the title for two of these films. Hadleyville's abandonment of Marshal Will Kane Gary Cooper in High Noon provides the central moral conflict. While several perspectives are given for the town's failure to support the marshal, including the disability of his mentor, the pacifism of his Quaker wife, and the fear of the judge who sentenced...

Women and the Role of the Feminine in Howard Hawkss Red River

The films of Howard Hawks have long presented feminist critics with a paradox they are famous for their recurrent staging of the social rituals of male bonding and camaraderie, and yet then frequently offer images of strong, independent women who undercut the authority of the male group and call its self-sufficiency into question. His action-adventure and Western films such as The Dawn Patrol 1930 , Only Angels Have Wings 1939 , and Red River 1948 are intensely masculine dramas in which...

Women and Westerns

That women are often treated badly or not at all is a particular stereotype of the Western, and a glance at a number of Westerns illustrates why this stereotype has come to be. In Once upon a Time in the West 1968 , an innocent young woman is gunned down along with her father and brothers. An older and more experienced woman Claudia Cardinale is used sexually and threatened with death until she agrees to sell her land to one of the villains. she may come out the winner in the final few frames,...

Generic Conventions and Gender

It should be observed at this point that Millay's intervention in the conflict between Dunson and Matt and the comedic resolution that it makes possible the film's ending in the promise of marriage are clearly inappropriate in terms of the conventions of the Western genre, according to which one of the two men should be killed. Nor is this ending in any way commensurate with the depth of the conflict established between the two characters over the course of the film. More than one critic has...

Works Cited Film Lone Star

Newsweek, June 24, 2002, 16. Beale, Lewis. He's the Lone Wolf behind Lone Star. Daily News, June 19, 1996, 38. Buscombe, Edward, and Roberta E. Pearson, eds. Back in the Saddle Again New Essays on the Western. London British Film Institute, 1998. Cawelti, John G. The Six-Gun Mystique Sequel. Bowling Green, Ohio Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999. Howell, Peter. Gunning for an Audience, John Sayles Famous for Not Doing Things the Hollywood...

Stock Characters Reinforce Cultural

Several film techniques augment the story line. The use of stock characters was particularly effective. Reviewers criticized Giant's creators for casting similar-looking individuals in the roles of Mexican servants. However, these characters provided a compellingly different image from that of the Anglo characters of the Benedict family. Dark-skinned and dressed in traditional apparel, the Mexicans in Giant contrasted sharply with the characters with light skin and modern clothing, a contrast...

Westerns and Americas Future

Popular culture in the United States presents an apparent chaos, but scholars who have taken films seriously know that movie Westerns are a touchstone to understanding the nation's concerns. At the mythic level, Westerns explore America's self-image as unique because of a proximity to nature, what Harvard scholar Perry Miller called an identity as Nature's Nation. Contemporary politics clearly affect the construction of Westerns witness the testimony in this collection to the pervasive...

Adult Legacies of a Juvenile Western

Lone Ranger Tonto, from this day on I'm going to devote my life to establishing law and order, to make the West a decent place to live. Enter the Lone Ranger, TV genesis episode of 1949 Born at Detroit radio station WXYZ in 1933, the Lone Ranger became a great twentieth-century mythmaking franchise. His trajectory ascended out of radio, comics, pulp novels, advertising endorsements, licensed merchandise, and fan clubs into the sphere of serialized television and the B Western. As the Ranger's...

The Simultaneous Deconstruction and Reinforcement of Generic Conventions in the

Almost as long as the Western has existed as a genre in film there has been a subgenre ofWestern parodies from as far back as the 1920s with Buster Keaton, continuing down to the present with Jackie Chan, the Western has been a target of parody and a rich source for comedy. Comedy relies, to a large extent, on the reversal of expectations because of the familiarity of the highly codified conventions of the Western, it becomes a prime target. Parodies subvert the conventions of the Western in...

Nation Building and Sexual Politics

From the very beginning of Red River, with its framing device of the expository titles and the manuscript called Early Tales of Texas, Hawks announces a much larger historical and cultural frame for this film than is typical of his work. Red River, as Robert Sklar has shown, is a film about empire, . . . about the territorial expansion of one society by the usurpation of land from others 169 clearly, this is a theme with social and political implications. At the center of this great enterprise...

Contents

The West, Westerns, and American Character John E. O'Connor and Peter C. Rollins 1 Part One. Early Sound Era Westerns, 1931-1939 Chapter 1. The New Western History in 1931 RKO and the Challenge of Cimarron Chapter 2. Tradition, Parody, and Adaptation Jed Buell's Unconventional West Chapter 3. The Lone Ranger Adult Legacies of a Juvenile Western Part Two. The Post-World War II Western, 1945-1956 Chapter 4. Wee Willie Winkie Goes West The Influence of the British Empire Genre on...

Origins of Western Parody

A parody is a comical imitation of a genre that uses its existing codes to examine the subject in a humorous way. Parody often exists simultaneously with satire, but it can be distinguished from satire, which is designed more specifically to point out vices, follies, or problems with conventional beliefs, whereas parody is generally more lighthearted. Despite the tendency of Western parodies to undermine or spoof the codes of the more traditional Western, they are still situated within the...

The Return of the Repressed

The key to both men's emotional self-discovery is Tess Millay. In her character, the repressed feminine principle that Dunson rejects at the beginning of the film and which remains completely banished throughout the ensuing two-thirds of the story suddenly erupts back into the narrative. The character of Millay in Borden Chase's original Saturday Evening Post serial, The Chisholm Trail, was a prostitute and a gambler, but Motion Picture Production Code officials demanded that she be softened...

Riding Off into the Sunset

Typically, these films end with the hero or heroes riding off into the sunset and, therefore, farther west into the frontier, the traditional exodus of the cowboy. In Shanghai Noon, Roy and Chon ride off into the setting sun, although there is no plot- or theme-mandated reason for this exit. The ending of Cat Ballou is played for its comic possibilities. Cat and her love interest, Clay Michael Callan , snuggle together in the back of a hearse as they ride into the distance. Rex calls attention...

TNT Westerns and Contemporary Audiences

Poker Western Cinema

This study found two main themes in four popular TNT Westerns Last Stand at Saber River, The Good Old Boys, The Virginian, Crossfire Trail those of nostalgia and a cynicism regarding social institutions. These themes are effective in engaging audiences primarily because they are already part of their everyday lives. For example, a nostalgia for Western myths and heroes is prevalent in Western novels, Hollywood films, paintings, country-and-western songs, and other popular cultural forms. These...

Keystone Comedy Meets the West in The Terror of Tiny Town

Terror Tiny Town

With high culture nowhere in sight, The Terror of Tiny Town, Buell's best-known, most controversial, and most baffling musical Western, was released in 1938. As with all Buell's musical Westerns, Tiny Town follows a standard format a hero, a villain, two feuding families, cattle, lots of songs, and a girl. The Preston and Lawson ranches are feuding, each blaming the other for mysterious cattle disappearances. Of course, the villain, Bat Haines Little Billy Rhodes , is behind the disappearances...

The Concept of Frontera in John SaylesS Lone Star

The idea of the frontier is extremely well established as cultural common property. If the idea of la frontera had anywhere near the standing of the idea of the frontier, we would be well launched toward self-understanding, directed toward a realistic view of this nation's position in the hemisphere and in the world. Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Adventures of the Frontier in the My feeling, basically, is that i've made a lot of movies about American culture and, as far as i'm concerned, it is...

Women In Western Films The Civilizer The Saloon Singer And Their Modern Sister Sandra Kay Schackel -

There Must Be a Lone Ranger. London Hamish Hamilton, 1974. Carroll, No l. The Professional Western South of the Border. In Back in the Saddle Again New Essays on the Western, edited by Edward Buscombe and Roberta E. Pearson, 46-62. London British Film Institute, 1998. Cawelti, John G. The Six-Gun Mystique Sequel. Bowling Green, Ohio Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999. Coyne, Michael. The Crowded Prairie American National Identity in the Hollywood Western. London...

The Western Parody as a Subgenre

Rustlers Rhapsody Outfits

Ironically, the Western parodies exhibit their own recycled conventions and clich s. An examination of Go West Edward Buzzell, 1940 , Cat Ballou Elliot Silverstein, 1965 , Blazing Saddles Mel Brooks, 1974 , Rustlers' Rhapsody Hugh Wilson, 1985 , and Shanghai Noon Tom Dey, 2000 will illustrate the variety of Western parodies and their similarities. When these parodies are examined together, patterns begin to emerge. These patterns indicate that the Western parody is in itself a generic form....

RRKO and the Challenge of Cimarron

In early 1931, RKO Pictures released Cimarron, a history of an Oklahoma pioneering couple's marriage from the opening of the territory to white settlement in 1889 to the film's 1930 production year. Even before the film's completion, the Hollywood motion picture community anticipated Cimarron as innovative American historical cinema, and following its premiere, the studio and the trade papers presented the film as both an authoritative historical document and a landmark of American cinematic...

Genre Markers in TNT Westerns

Harris Riders The Purple Sage

Because TNT Westerns' core audience consists of genre fans, the network takes great pains to identify its movies through publicity, promotional trailers, and press kits. This study found six genre markers used by the network to attract its audience. The first genre marker is basing its Westerns on the works of well-known Western writers. Many of TNT's movies are adaptations of popular novels written by Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey, and Elmore Leonard. TNT has even produced a cable film adaptation...

Bringing Harlem to the Prairie with Herb Jeffries The Bronze Buckaroo

Directly following The Terror of Tiny Town was another film that garnered Buell further criticism for exploitation, along with a few comments of praise for advancing the role of blacks in the cinematic West Harlem on the Prairie 1937 . The film brought the rich musical voice of Herb Jeffries to the frontier, along with a cast of black faces usually absent from the genre. The issue of black images in the early years of film is a complex one. More than thirteen hundred African American films were...

Reliance on Established Western Conventions

Slim Pickens Campfire

One of the most immediately obvious references to earlier Westerns is found in the titles of the parodies. Each of the films considered here somehow refers to an earlier Western film, often in a comedic way. Go West, as mentioned earlier, takes the same title as a Buster Keaton film and notably refers to Horace Greeley's famous injunction of 1853, Go West, young man. The title Cat Ballou came from the book on which the film was based The Ballad of Cat Ballou. Blazing Saddles, in addition to its...

Conventions of the Western Parody

Western parodies sometimes go a great deal further than borrowing conventions from the traditional Western. To ensure authenticity or tie themselves more tightly to the genre, they often use sets, costumes, and even actors from recognizable Western films. Parts of Cat Ballou, for instance, were filmed on the same set as High Noon. Rustlers' Rhapsody employed a similar technique to associate the film with its Western antecedents. The film made use of one of the frontier sets built in Almeria,...

TNT and the Production of Western Films

Westerns Films

Turner Broadcasting System introduced the TNT cable network in 1988 after achieving profitability with superstation WTBS and CNN Cable News Network . Created as a venue for Turner's vast library of films, TNT consisted almost exclusively of theatrical and television releases. Indeed, the network's MGM UA film library includes twenty-two hundred MGM titles, along with older Warner Bros. and RKO films. TNT debuted on October 3 in 17 million cable homes by far the largest network launch to date in...