Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History

Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History

by Peter C. Rollins, John E. O'Connor
     
 

ISBN-10: 0813191963

ISBN-13: 9780813191966

Pub. Date: 01/23/2009

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

American historians such as Frederick Jackson Turner have argued that the West has been the region that most clearly defines American democracy and the national ethos. Throughout the twentieth century, the "frontier thesis" influenced film and television producers who used the West as a backdrop for an array of dramatic explorations of America's history and the

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Overview

American historians such as Frederick Jackson Turner have argued that the West has been the region that most clearly defines American democracy and the national ethos. Throughout the twentieth century, the "frontier thesis" influenced film and television producers who used the West as a backdrop for an array of dramatic explorations of America's history and the evolution of its culture and values. The common themes found in Westerns distinguish the genre as a quintessentially American form of dramatic art. In Hollywood's West, Peter C. Rollins, John E. O'Connor, and the nation's leading film scholars analyze popular conceptions of the frontier as a fundamental element of American history and culture. This volume examines classic Western films and programs that span nearly a century, from Cimarron (1931) to Turner Network Television's recent made-for-TV movies. Many of the films discussed here are considered among the greatest cinematic landmarks of all time. The essays highlight the ways in which Westerns have both shaped and reflected the dominant social and political concerns of their respective eras. While Cimarron challenged audiences with an innovative, complex narrative, other Westerns of the early sound era such as The Great Meadow (1931) frequently presented nostalgic visions of a simpler frontier era as a temporary diversion from the hardships of the Great Depression. Westerns of the 1950s reveal the profound uncertainty cast by the cold war, whereas later Westerns display heightened violence and cynicism, products of a society marred by wars, assassinations, riots, and political scandals. The volume concludes with a comprehensive filmography and an informative bibliography of scholarly writings on the Western genre. This collection will prove useful to film scholars, historians, and both devoted and casual fans of the Western genre. Hollywood's West makes a significant contribution to the understanding of both the historic American frontier and its innumerable popular representations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813191966
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
01/23/2009
Series:
Film and History Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
471,006
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction : the west, western, and American character1
Ch. 1The new western history in 1931 : RKO and the challenge of Cimarron37
Ch. 2Tradition, parody, and adaptation : Jed Buell's unconventional west65
Ch. 3The lone ranger : adult legacies of a Juvenile Western81
Ch. 4Wee Willie Winkie goes west : the influence of the British Empire Genre on Ford's Cavalry Trilogy99
Ch. 5Beyond the river : women and the role of the feminine in Howard Hawks's Red River115
Ch. 6The "ache for home" : assimilation and separatism in Anthony Mann's Devil's doorway126
Ch. 7Giant helps America recognize the cost of discrimination : a lesson of World War II160
Ch. 8Rewriting High noon : transformations in American popular political culture during the Cold War, 1952-1968175
Ch. 9Almost angels, almost feminists : women in the professionals198
Ch. 10Cowboys and comedy : the simultaneous deconstruction and reinforcement of generic conventions in the western parody218
Ch. 11Historical discourse and American identity in westerns since the Reagan era239
Ch. 12Challenging legends, complicating border lines : the concept of "Frontera" in John Sayles's Lone Star261
Ch. 13Turner network television's made-for-TV western films : engaging audiences through genre and themes281
Filmography300
Bibliography322

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