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Lecture #1 Western Films
Introduction of Western Films: ● Both are western films ● Why it began with westerns? ○ Because it is the first preeminent and wholly American film genre and developed classical film narrative and the hollywood film industry, ○ Western was the genre that tapped into the american history and american lore, the foundational myths upon which national identity based on the settling of the western frontier.
My Darling Clementine by John Ford 1946 ● Made just after the second world war ● Example of a classical phase of the western ● John Ford known for other classicals and westerns, such as stagecoach 1939 (western formalized for the first time) ● Before that Ford made The Iron Horse during the silent period, building of the railroad ● Ford’s association with the Western and innovations and formalization of the western features he was hailed by french film critics in the 1950s as a preeminent auteurs ● Ford as an auteurs = The Grapes of Wrath ● My Darling Clementine was shot in Ford’s favorite location Monument Valley located in Northern Arizona (chief iconographic feature which is the extensions of all hollywood westerns) ● 5 films that Henry Fonda made with John Ford this includes My Darling Clementine (1946 growth of civilizations), Young Mr. Lincoln (civil war), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939 revolutionary war), The Grapes of Wrath (1940 great depression), and Fort Apache (1948) ● The laconic nebraska born fonda became the first true hero ● Fort Apache inspired by a short story called Massacre by James Warner Bellah (influenced by two indian conflicts = Battle of the Greasy Grass (Battle of the Little Bighorn Custer’s Last Stand) and The Fetterman Fight. Native Americans and American Soldiers War. ● Fort Apache (wrongdoing against Natives) ● Revisionist Westerns ● All the characters Fonda played suffered or understood suffering, which marked them in a way, causing them to think and reason things out before they were forced to act. They were different brand of hero for a different time, a time of great social consciousness and sensitivity before the war hardened them into warriors. ● My Darling Clementine had historical elements, such as the Battle of the O.K Corral which took place in Tombstone Arizona ○ Battle between Wyatt Earp, The Marshal and his brothers, and Doc Holliday against the Clanton Family ● Movie contains myths and legends = liberal re-telling leaving no doubt to who the good and bad guys are ● Novel Wyatt Earp frontier marshal by Stuart N. Lake ● Ford capitalized on the mythic and legendary elements in Earp’s personal recollections and Lake’s novel to create an American foundational myth on film using Earp’s taming of the wild town of Tombstone, as an allegory for America’s civilizing of the western frontier