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Westerns

Film Lecture 8
by

Drew Hamilton

on 13 September 2011

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Transcript of Westerns

The Western
The All-American film genre
Westerns
The major defining genre of American film
Set in American West in years during the Civil War through the turn of the 20th Century
2 Major Themes in Westerns
Portrays the conquest of the wilderness in the name of civilization…
...Or the fight over
the confiscation of rights
Iconic Western Elements
An icon is an easily recognized visual symbolCertain icons can make a film easy to identify as a western, for example…
Clothes
Distinctive Western wear like Stetson hats, boots, spurs, etc.
Horses
Guns
Amazing Scenery
Desert southwest
Rocky Mountains
Monument Valley, Utah
Typical Western Plots
Maintaining law and order in a fast-paced action story
Good vs. evil
Civilization vs. wilderness
Settler vs. nomad
Western Conflict
The conflict in a western is often resolved physically, creating powerful visuals.
This is one reason the western has been a popular genre with so many great filmmakers.
Famous Western Directors
John Ford
John Ford
4 time Oscar Winner
Shot a lot of movies in Monument Valley
Often used the same actors in different films, namely John Wayne
Most famous films: "Stagecoach", "The Searchers"
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
Italian director; his films were called "Spaghetti Westerns"
Used American stars and Italian supporting actors
Very stylistic use of violence and camerawork
Jarring extremes in editing, music, sound effects
Famous films: The Dollars Trilogy- "A Fistful of Dollars"; "For a Few Dollars More"; and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
Western Actors
John Wayne: Your granddad's favorite actor
Appeared in 84 different Westerns from 1930 to 1976
Won an Oscar for "True Grit"

Clint Eastwood: Your dad's favorite actor
Has appeared in 14 different Westerns
Got his start in the Dollars Trilogy
Now an accomplished director
Won a Directing Oscar for his last Western, "Unforgiven"
Full transcript