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Westerns

Aspects of a Movie Genre

Philip French

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857547 47 4
Categories: Film
Imprint: Carcanet Film
Published: April 2005
216 x 135 x 20 mm
240 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Westerns is the classic account of the emergence, growth and flowering of one of the most perennially popular film genres. When it was first published thirty years ago it was welcomed by reviewers in Europe and the United States as a major work. In this new edition, fully revised and updated, with a new introduction, both movie buffs and general readers have the opportunity to engage again with one of the sharpest film critics of our time.

    The book focuses on the political, historical and cultural forces that shaped the western, dealing especially with the thirty years after World War II. It considers the treatment of Indians and Blacks, women and children, the role of violence, landscape and pokerplaying, and it advances the theory that most westerns of those years fit into four principal categories that reflect the styles and ideologies of four leading politicians of the era: John F. Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and William Buckley.

    Since the book was first revised in 1977, there has been, as the author predicted there would be, a steady decline in the number of westerns made for TV and the cinema, but the genre remains highly influential and reflects the social and psychological currents in American life. In the 1990s Academy Awards for best movie went to Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves and Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, the first time that westerns were so honoured since Cimarron won an Oscar in 1930. French takes in these and other films, such as Heaven's Gate, the costly failure that brought down the studio that produced it, and brings the story of the western into the twenty-first century as the genre that was renewed in Cold Mountain, Open Range, Hidalgo and The Alamo.


    Table of Contents

    Preface ix



    part one: Westerns (1973; 1977)



        Introduction (1973) 3

    1 Politics, etc. and the Western 5

    2 Heroes and Villains, Women and Children 30

    3 Indians and Blacks 47

    4 Landscape, Violence, Poker 62

    5 The Post-Western 82

        Bibliography 102

        Afterword (1977) 105

    The Italian Western 106

    Television 108

    Cops and Vigilantes 111

    Baseball 112

    Children 113

    New Faces of 1885 114

    Comedies 116

    Westworld 119

    The Missouri Breaks 119

        More Books 126



    part two : Westerns Revisited (2004)



        Introduction 131

    1 Waiting for the End 134

    2 Television 142

    3 Comedies 147

    4 The Italian Western 152

    5 Westward the Women 155

    6 Legends Re-examined 160

    The Alamo 160

    Wild Bill Hickok 164

    The James-Younger Gang 169

    Billy the Kid 173

    Tombstone and the Earps 176

    7 The Modern West 181

    8 Transpositions and Displacements 190

    9 Native Americans 195

    10 Eastwood Ho! 206

    11 Two New Western Stars 211

    12 Some Left-field Entries 219

        Latest Books 223

        Filmography 226



    Index of Films 233

    Index of Names 240

    ... read more
    Praise for Philip French Philip French's I Found It at the Movies is an apparently random but charming collection from the Observer critic's nearly 50 years of writing on film. These pieces are elegant and learned, and they hark back to the era when French's predecessor CA Lejeune could usefully dismiss the mawkish home-front drama Millions Like Us with three words: 'And millions don't.'
    Nick Curtis, Evening Standard, Film Books of the Year 2011.
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