The Western Genre: From Lordsburg to Big Whiskey

Overview

The Western Genre: From Lordsburg to Big Whiskey offers close readings of the definitive American film movement as represented by such leading exponents as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Sam Peckinpah. In his consideration of such iconic motifs as the Outlaw Hero and the Lone Rider, John Saunders traces the development of perennial aspects of the genre, its continuity and, importantly, its change. Representations of morality and masculinity are also foregrounded in consideration of the genre's major stars John ...

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Overview

The Western Genre: From Lordsburg to Big Whiskey offers close readings of the definitive American film movement as represented by such leading exponents as John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Sam Peckinpah. In his consideration of such iconic motifs as the Outlaw Hero and the Lone Rider, John Saunders traces the development of perennial aspects of the genre, its continuity and, importantly, its change. Representations of morality and masculinity are also foregrounded in consideration of the genre's major stars John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and such films as Shane, Rio Bravo, The Wild Bunch, and Unforgiven.

Wallflower Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903364123
  • Publisher: Wallflower Press
  • Publication date: 10/18/2001
  • Series: Short Cuts Series , #7
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Saunders is senior lecturer in film and literature at the University of

Newcastle, UK.

Wallflower Press

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Table of Contents

list of illustrations
introduction 1
1 reading a western 13
2 the established classics 37
3 development and change: three films about jesse james 63
4 new directions 81
5 the indians 93
6 breaking the mould 113
filmography
bibliography
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2001

    Shorts Cuts go West

    The seventh entry in the excellent Short Cuts series from Wallflower press, The Western Genre: From Lordsburg to Big Whiskey by John Saunders, is based on detailed summaries and analyses of 12 classic and not-so-classic westerns. Dutiful summary and description is the keynote of the book, which often has a somewhat dry Cliff Notes quality in the opening chapters. Although he focuses on just a few titles, and doesn't plow a lot of fresh ground, Saunders manages to fruitfully lasso most of the genre's major films, directors, stars, and thematic variations, and references many of the classic scholarly works on the genre. The book starts to gallop when dealing with 'revisionist' or 'deconstructive' westerns like The Wild Bunch, Little Big Man, Dances With Wolves, and Unforgiven. The tension between classic form and revisionist impulse quicken the pulse of his discussion. But he gives short shrift to the Sergio Leone westerns, which deserve at least as much space as forgotten entries like The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. He briefly considers the migration-extinction of western themes to other genres in a sentence on Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys, but ignores the larger possibility that the values of the western may have moved to other genres--notably science fiction and the action film--as evidenced in genre pastiche/ hybrid films like Star Wars, Outland, and The Road Warrior. Saunders probably prefers his genres straight--or only bent so far--and films like Blazing Saddles, Dead Man, and MTV westerns like Young Guns may seem merely desacrations. Like many western films, the book ends on an elegiac, nostalgic note, suggesting that the genre may be exhausted. Perhaps it is inevitable that a scholar of the classic western might identify with Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) in the last shot of John Ford's The Searchers: his job done, turning his back on a future in which he suspects he doesn't belong, may not be welcome, and may not want to take part in--striding off into the whirling sands of memory.

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