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The Invention of the Western Film

The Invention of the Western Film
A Cultural History of the Genre's First Half Century


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  • Date Published: February 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521555814

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • 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
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    • Winner of the Theatre Library Association Award

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2004
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521555814
    • length: 412 pages
    • dimensions: 225 x 154 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.558kg
    • contains: 112 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • 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.

  • Author

    Scott Simmon, University of California, Davis


    • Winner of the Theatre Library Association Award

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