American Westerns is a genre that focuses on the frontier of America. The setting is typically portrayed west of the Mississippi River. Majority of the films take place during the late 19th century. American Westerns tend to be easy to recognize from the costumes that are wore to the props. American Westerns focus on hero. Additionally, Westerns have a sense of mystery about them prevalent with the appearance of a lone wolf; a character that appears in the plot without prior knowledge of their past. The lone wolf often is the hero himself being on the side on the law and wanting to do the morally correct actions. The most common denominator in the American Western movies is action. American Westerns are packed with action and drama between the good guy, hero, or the bad guy. American Westerns are often criticized for following a rebutting plot line that identifies a Western from the start of the plot.
The Great Train Robbery is accredited with being the first American Western movie. This particular clip shows many characteristics that are shown in American Westerns. First, the opening scene is depicted by action. Second, it is clear who the “bad” guys are right off the bat. The plot has been set; it is clear to the watcher that the train is about to be taken over with the use of guns. Third, the setting itself is a characteristics of American Westerns: a train in the frontier. Just from watching the first couple of scenes of the movie the watcher can pick out many key traits that are found in American Westerns.
Ford and Wayne, a friendship and professional collaboration that spanned 50 years, changed each others' lives, the movies, and the way America saw itself.
Meredith Parker's insight:
Two major leaders of American Westerns are John Ford and John Wayne; John Ford was already successful director upon meeting John Wayne. Ford took a liking to the young Wayne from the beginning. The relationship began when Ford gave small parts to Wayne in some of the films her director. The friendship just grew from there. After many years knowing each other Ford decided to direct a film “Stagecoach” casting Wayne as the leading role. The movie was a huge hit furthering Ford’s successful career and promoting Wayne to a star. From the filming of “Stagecoach”, Wayne and Ford continued to work together leading to twelve more films.
Theatrical trailer for John Ford's highly influential 1939 Western "Stagecoach," starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and Thomas Mitchell. Review: http://www....
Meredith Parker's insight:
The “Stagecoach” trailer shows a brief summary about what the movie is about. “Stagecoach” is and American Western film that was released in 1939, directed by John Ford. This movie is what lead actor John Wayne to stardom. The story begins and centers on a trip of unordinary people: a drunken doctor, prostitute, and you pregnant lady. The path that the trip is planned along is one were the Apache Indians are on the warpath. Along the way, more passengers are picked up including Ringo (John Wayne). During the trip many obstacles arise including the pregnant lady going into labor; often being fixed by Ringo. Before long the group of travelers is approached by the Apache. Just in time soldiers come to assist in the attack. From this short summary and the trailer, it is clear that the movie is full of action. Of course the setting is in the frontier and accompanied by violence. This short trailer and summery of the movie show a few characteristics of American Westerns.
America Westerns began to fade out around the 1970’s but, did continue to influence film and television. The opening setting of this article would thought to be that of an American Western but, that is wrong. It is a scene that was air in the contemporary television show The Walking Dead. Some component that are apparent in the opening paragraphs of the article that lead the reader to believe that it is an American Western movie are: setting in the bar, the lawman without an uniform but, carrying a gun in a holster, details about the dust on the ground. This article explains and shows many examples of how American Westerns from the early 1900’s have influence film and television today. Additionally, American Westerns have influenced the reality shows that are aired. Currently, there are many reality shows that film in Alaska, America’s last frontier including Ice Road Truckers, Flying Wild Alaska, Life Below Zero and Deadliest Catch. Today the “traditional” American Westerns that were filmed on the early 1900’s might not be produced today but, the influences of the beginning American Westerns still continues.
There are many characteristics that make up the genre American Western. The American Western genre focuses on the early days of the expanding America’s frontier. American Westerns were at their peak between the 1930’s to the 1960’s. The two profound themes that connect American Westerns together are the expanding of the frontier itself and law and order of the land. American Western films show the quest to conquer more land and the obstacles that come with acquiring more land; reoccurring obstacles that challenge the law and order of the land is rival families, Native American, and outlaws. Additionally, American Westerns tend to be accompanied by violence; commonly shown are shoot outs between enemies. Majority of the time the hero in the plot is a law enforcement officer in the town who are portrayed as moral, courage, brave men that cannot be defeated.
American Western films centralized around a hero that is trying to keep law and order of the land; the hero of the story is portrayed as someone with great physical strength, intelligence and accompanied with a serious outlook. One particular reoccurring hero in Western films is the cowboy. The cowboy persona is often accredited to beginning in the early 1900’s in correlation with the outcoming of Zane Gray’s career. Although Westerns did not peak until the mid-1900’s, Westerns were produced in the early 1900’s.
Stars: John Wayne, James Stewart, Henry Fonda Director: Denis Sanders Writers: David H. Vowell, Dan Ford (format) A documentary encapsulating the career and ...
Meredith Parker's insight:
John Ford is a great American director. He is famous for many American Western movies along with films from other genres. John Ford, also known as Pappy, is always seen carrying a cigarette with him at all times. Ford is hard to get to know due to the fact that he does not like to talk to him. This interview gives insight to John Ford himself. Interesting note that I found in the interview, even though widely known for his Westerns, he believed that he did comedies the best. This interview shows a timeline for Ford’s career as an director; it possess a lot of information that can lead in many different directions.
John Wayne came to be known as a mainstream star as after he appeared as Ringo in “Stagecoach”; following “Stagecoach” his career took off. Wayne would go to star in 142 more films, majority in the American Western genre. Wayne, also known as Duke, started out as a prom man on a film that was directed by John Ford. This is where the two meet and began a long friendship. After “Stagecoach”, Wayne and Ford continued to team up to make movies. John Wayne has been characterized as a likable man because he seemed like an “everyday” guy. John Wayne is an important and famous star during the American Western peak. John Wayne appeared in his last film in 1976, “The Shootist”.
The Great Train Robbery (1903) is accredited with being the first American Western film created. From 1903 until the late 1970’s American Western movies remained popular to produce. Why? Many scholars have many different opinions. One opinion seems to be quite simple: Americans enjoy watching Westerns because of the premise of the story. Westerns progressed from the first one shown to audience, The Great Train Robbery, to becoming more popular right before World War II. American Westerns portray the great frontier and different way of life. Many technology advances changed American from 1903 to 1930; in such a small time frame many ways of life were disturbed. American enjoyed watching American Westerns to show how life used to be composed. Additionally, Westerns were comprised of a clear cut story; the good guy was known and the bad guy was known. During the peak of Westerns, many uncertainties were prevalent in American. From the world uncertainty after World War I, the Cold War, and spread of Communism, Westerns depicted a clear vision with in the political environment of America.
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