An introduction to The Western Presentation by Robert Martinez Images as cited. http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Roy-Rogers-Dale-Evans-Photograph-C10103389.jpeg Hard men, with a code to steer by, stand up, don’t run, count on no one but yourself. Men who never learned to deceive themselves. These are the men of the American western. Randolph Scott http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/journal-files/Issues/oct02/klein-scott.jpg The mythic western theme is persistent in American culture, thanks in large part to the movies. It was, for a long time, how the rest of the world saw us. http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeVideoArt/66/224966.jpg The Great Train Robbery • 12-minute silent film in 1903 considered the first modern film. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Train_Robbery.jpg We were all cowboys and gunslingers, operating according to some unwritten rules of the untamed American West. Coach Martinez 5 years old, July 8, 1968 Photograph provided by author’s personal collection. As a little tyke, playing Cowboys & Indians made for a great afternoon. I always made my little brother be the Indian (so I could shoot him.) Photograph from personal collection of author. Coach Martinez and his little brother (1968.) I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching old western movie reruns on t.v., especially since that’s about all that was on. Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger was my favorite. http://a1259.g.akamai.net/f/1259/5586/1d/images.art.com/images/-/Roy-Rogers-Poster-Card-C10230245.jpeg The Lone Ranger The masked lawman & his trusted Indian companion Tonto were as popular to kids as Superman & Batman. http://doit101.com/Collectibles/Images/loneranger7.jpg http://www.dustcatchers.com/comics/loneranger61.jpg Television programming in the 50s & 60s consisted of many western shows, such as Bonanza, Wagon Train, High Chaparral, The Rifleman, and Gunsmoke…but movies were the best. http://valdefierro.com/rifleman241.jpg http://home1.gte.net/res0qaye/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/bonanza.jpg http://a1259.g.akamai.net/f/1259/5586/1d/images.art.com/images/-/Gunsmoke-Photograph-C10101971.jpeg American westerns were the things of dreams and adventure for young men growing up in the U.S.A. But were the westerns really All-American? http://www.flickr.com/photos/xphotobug/1349533890/ In truth, our filmmakers have often taken their leads from artists working in other countries. Japan’s Akira Kurosawa’s classis Samurai pictures became box office successes in America, remade as westerns. http://www.astor-theatre.com/images/in-line/posters/postersS/seven-samuri-s.gif The Seven Samurai (1954), was moved to indigenous screens as The Magnificent Seven, starring some of the biggest film stars of the day including Steve McQueen, Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn. http://www.vh1.com/shared/media/images/amg_covers/200/drd400/d433/d433754npjy.jpg … Yojimbo (1961), catapulted Clint Eastwood to fame as the “Man with No Name,” in A Fistful of Dollars, in 1964. http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/images/28/cteq/fistful_of_dollars.jpg http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeVideoArt/89/143389.jpg A Fistful of Dollars director was Sergio Leone, the Italian responsible for Eastwood’s “spaghetti western” phenomenon. http://www.learnaboutmovieposters.com/newsite/movies/1960s/1967/reg/fistfulofDollars_hs.jpg So you could say that American westerns aren’t really so “American.” Or maybe it is, after all, America is a melting pot from all over the world. http://www.fbo.com.au/DVDImages/E10070.jpg http://www.frankdecaro.com/recipes/photos/Cleavon-Little/CL-6.jpg Moviegoers the world over recognize the western as America’s defining movie genre (at least, until the ongoing saga of Star Wars). http://www.starstore.com/acatalog/Star_Wars-one-sheet_b-L-01.jpg John Wayne John Wayne was the ultimate western star. But why? No one seems to be able to sum up why, except for maybe one film director, Raoul Walsh, when he said, “Dammit, the S.O.B. looked like a cowboy.” www.johnw...place.org/ collect10.html The Duke John Wayne, nicknamed the Duke, won his only Academy Award performance as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969), of course, playing an old, cussing, shooting, U.S. Marshall. http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/cover_art3/truegrit-se.jpg Western pictures had a way of influencing morals of right and wrong in American society. There was no doubt between good and evil. The bad guy almost always wore black. http://www.neu-bybarny.de/cooper5.jpg It’s probably no accident that the Westerns lost their popularity during the Counterculture of the 60s & 70s (Vietnam War and Watergate Scandal). Good guys weren’t always following the rules. That just wasn’t very American. http://chud.com/nextraimages/nixon1.jpg Cowboys were the hero’s of the Conformist generation. Even John Wayne received a large amount of criticism for his role in the Vietnam propaganda film, The Green Berets. http://www3.eou.edu/hist06/images/green-berets_001.jpg Heck, America even elected one of the Western’s most recognized stars as President of the United States – Ronald Reagan. http://i.b5z.net/i/ui/87996/i/reagan_cowboy_web.jpg Don’t you think that frightened a few Cold War adversaries, after all, a pistol-packing cowboy with control of a nuclear arsenal? http://www.americancowboy.com/nd04/5westerners/reagan.jpg http://www.flickr.com/photos/eklektikos/136850567/ American film audiences have lost interest. People being killed slowly, just one at a time, is a plot line that won’t hold our attention. America wants machine guns firing with lots of explosions. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3025867033/ As for me, I still love sitting in front of my television on a Saturday afternoon watching my Westerns. Of course, my 10 year-old daughter hates them, especially the ones in black & white. http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~gnt/dad's/images/den.jpg My Picks The following are my picks for anyone interested in becoming an expert in the western movie genre. Walter Brennan http://www.ufomystic.com/wp-content/uploads/brennan.jpg Only two westerns have been Academy Award recipients: Cimarron (1931), then six decades later, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992.) Dances with Wolves is almost a western, winning Best Picture honors in 1990. http://www.stevespeed.com/university/university_images/dances_with_wolves.jpg http://www.flickr.com/photos/moviefan1014/3124634150/ The Unforgiven In The Unforgiven, Eastwood, who also directed, makes use of a popular western movie theme, the lone man. The lone man, isolated, trying to scratch a living from the unyielding soil. A former gunfighter, he is unfit for farming. http://videosamba.com/i/unforgiven.jpg The Unforgiven The opportunity presents itself, to pick up his gun again and make some money, the only way he knows how, money he wouldn’t care about if he didn’t need it to take care of his two motherless children. http://bztv.typepad.com/moviessquared/images/unforgiven.jpg The Unforgiven Eastwood moves comfortably on to another western movie tradition, and takes on a sidekick, Morgan Freeman. The bonds that tie men together in the Western are unbreakable. Death is the only separation. http://www.film.org.pl/images2/unforgiven/4.jpg The Magnificent Seven Mexican villagers scrape up enough money to hire seven gunmen to protect their homes and families from evil bandits. http://www.affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/magnificent_seven_small.jpg http://blogs.amctv.com/bronsons_magnificent_seven_best_kills_photo_gallery/03Mag7.JPG http://www.moviegoods.com/movie_item.asp?path=%2FAssets%2Fproduct%5Fimages%2F1020%2F&file=326426%2E1020%2EA%2Ejpg http://www.georgethomasjr.com/images/update_images/butch_sundance.jpg http://image.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/xblogButchCassidy400-crop.jpg http://www.poster.net/butch-cassidy-and-the-sundance-kid/butch-cassidy-and-the-sundance-kid-butch-cassidy-and-the-sundance-kid-9901836.jpg http://www.sfmag.net/IMG/jpg/BUTCH_CASSIDY.jpg Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid Greatest adventure of western outlaws, there is no better sidekick movie ever (plus lots of laughs). These bank & trains robbers are chased by U.S. lawmen all the way to South America. http://www.dvdfuture.com/images/upload/cassidyimage.jpg Silverado The ultimate western containing every western theme ever devised. A group of brothers journey west to settle down, but first they have to take on the corrupt land barons and lawmen. http://cdn.channel.aol.com/amgvideo/dvd/cov150/drt500/t553/t55300tg597.jpg http://www.moviegoods.com/movie_item.asp?path=%2FAssets%2Fproduct%5Fimages%2F1020%2F&file=275531%2E1020%2EA%2Ejpg http://www.impawards.com/1985/posters/silverado.jpg http://www.moviegoods.com/movie_item.asp?path=%2FAssets%2Fproduct%5Fimages%2F1020%2F&file=234141%2E1020%2EA%2Ejpg High Noon Mega film star Gary Cooper plays the quiet, mild-mannered, but good-natured sheriff of a small town, left alone, to ward off a band of thugs. He knows he’s outnumbered, none of the townspeople will help him, they’re all afraid. http://www.herodote.net/Images/HighNoonGaryCooper.jpg High Noon Cooper faces certain death, but he has a duty, and he’s not running from it. Clocks are ticking on walls everywhere in the movie, moving slowly toward 12 o’clock, when the train is due to arrive with the outlaws. http://www.poster.net/cooper-gary/cooper-gary-high-noon-4002039.jpg http://www.gonemovies.com/www/WanadooFilms/Western/HighKlok.jpg The Searchers http://www.poster.net/wayne-john/wayne-john-the-searchers-9966872.jpg http://www.gonemovies.com/WWW/WanadooFilms/Western/SearchersEthan4.jpg The Searchers Best Western director, John Ford’s stories, are simply about the individual as the last line of defense, a man willing to take a stand, no matter how high the price. A good example is The Searchers, starring John Wayne. http://image.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/aThe_searchers_Ford_Trailer_screenshot_(8-crop)-crop.jpg The Searchers Disillusioned loner Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), goes alone to search for Natalie Woods, kidnapped as a little girl by the Indians. This tough man brings her back to civilization, to her family, and then, alone, turns and walks away (the John Wayne walk) into the sunset. True Grit John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/images/1171-True_Grit_Print_2.jpg http://www.homevideos.com/freezeframes2/TrueGrit228.jpeg True Grit U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn is recruited to hunt down the killers of a young girl’s father. Unfortunately for him, she insists on going along on the difficult journey into the wild Indian territory. John Wayne wins his only academy award for Best Actor. http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/images/1171-True_Grit_Print_2.jpg http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/product_images/1000/227134.1000.A.jpg The Cowboys The only western when its alright for a grown man to cry, because it can’t be helped. John Wayne leads a group of youngsters in a long trail cattle drive battling the harsh elements and evil cattle rustlers. http://www.americancowboy.com/so04/silverscreen/wayne2.jpg http://www.lightviews.com/images/cowboys.JPG Homework for Extra Credit Watch one of the movies discussed on my must see list, and then write a onepage summary (typed) of why the movie made a “good” western, what kind of western themes were present. The summary must also include a short summary of the plot and characters. Lastly, what did you enjoy about the film.