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The Invention of the Western Film ranges across literature, visual arts, social history, ideology, and legend to provide, for the first time, an in-depth exploration of the early Western, from short kinetoscopes of the 1890s through "classic" features of the 1940s. By examining the American Indian's rise and demise during the silent era, B- Westerns of the 1930s, and film noir-influenced Westerns of the 1940s, Scott Simmon's pioneering study silhouettes the genre's evolution against a myriad of cultural forces. This lively, encyclopedic book revitalizes familiar Western icons John Wayne and John Ford, and recovers forgotten masterworks from the Western film's formative years.Read more
- First book to deal with origins of the Western film, particularly film prior to 1930
- Most extensive study of the image of the American Indian in silent film
- Wide-ranging cultural study
Reviews & endorsements
"Clearly written, The Invention of the Western Film is also well illustrated, sometimes with production stills but more often (and more usefully) with frame enlargements that support the visual analysis. Godd historians of film are often less confident as visual analysts, and vice versa. Yet one of Simmon's strengths is his ability to do perceptive close visual readings of movies while also making skillful and sometimes exciting connections between the film under study and other films, other works of literary or visual art, and the history of the West." Film QuarterlySee more reviews
"One of the many strengths of this book is Simmon's narrow focus and his attention to the lesser-known nooks and crannies of the Western. His writing is never less than engaging and accessible, his insights often beautifully stated and eminently quotable" - Journal of Film and Video Stephanie Harrison
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- Date Published: June 2003
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521555814
- length: 412 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.6kg
- contains: 112 b/w illus.
- availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
Table of Contents
Part I. 'My Friend, the Indian': Landscape and the Extermination of the Native American in the Silent Western:
1. Indians to the rescue
2. The eastern Western
3. Our friends, the Indians
4. The death of the Western, 1911
5. The far-Western
6. Wars on the plains
7. The politics of landscape
8. Pocahontas meets Custer: The Invaders
9. 'No Indians wanted'
10. The west of the Mohicans
11. Desert places
Part II. 'It's Time for Your History Lesson, Dear': John Wayne and the Problem of History in the Hollywood Western of the 1930s:
12. The Big Trail and the weight of history
13. What's the big idea?
14. Manifestations of destiny
15. Rambling into Surrealism: the B-Western
16. 'Don't cry, Pat, it's only a Western': A note on acting
17. Time, space, and the Western
Part III. 'That Sleep of Death': John Ford and the Darkness of the Classic Western in the 1940s:
18. My Darling Clementine and the fight with Film Noir
19. Out of the past
20. 'Shakespeare? In Tombstone?'
21. 'Get outa town and stay out'
22. 'A lot of nice people around here'
23. 'Who do we shoot?'
24. The revenge of Film Noir
25. The return of the Earps
26. Ford, Fonda, and the death of the classic Western.
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