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Aspects of a Movie Genre
RRP: GBP 14.95
Available from: Buy now from Amazon
ISBN: 978 1 847778 20 8
Imprint: Carcanet Film
Published: August 2012
240 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), Paperback
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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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
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
Afterword (1977) 105
The Italian Western 106
Cops and Vigilantes 111
New Faces of 1885 114
The Missouri Breaks 119
More Books 126
part two : Westerns Revisited (2004)
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
Index of Films 233
Index of Names 240
Praise for Philip French A 'welcome and overdue collection'
Sergio Angelini, Journal of British Cinema and Television
'He never comes across as pretentious and his prose is often wistful and amusing...Breezing through the book is a delight.'
Lee Pfeiffer, Cinema Retro
'In a critical landscape now dominated by amateurism and the taking of theatrically extreme positions, what a pleasure and an education it is to read the work of a judicious professional.'
Jonathan Barnes, Times Literary Supplement
'This collection is a joy from the opening page to the final credits: to open it at any given page is to soak up Phillip's range of interests, terms of reference, knowledge, understanding and humour.'
Dan Carrier, The Camden New Journal
'The publication of this book brings home to the reader the qualities that made Philip French stand out from other film reviewers. His ability with words was special and is evidenced throughout Notes from the Dream House... No review here is unworthy of attention'
Mansel Stimpson, Film Review Daily
'The book is a compact reminder of French's immense knowledge of film and the cinematic world... Notes from the Dream House is solid proof of the fact that French left nothing unseen.'
Laila Obeidat, The London Magazine
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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