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Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, by Peter C. Rollins

By Peter C. Rollins

Hollywood’s West examines renowned perceptions of the frontier as a defining function of yank id and background. Seventeen essays via well known movie students light up the attract of lifestyles at the fringe of civilization and research how this zone has been represented on great and small monitors. Differing characterizations of the frontier in glossy pop culture exhibit a number of truths approximately American attention and supply insights into many vintage Western motion pictures and tv courses, from RKO’s 1931 vintage Cimarron to Turner community Television’s contemporary made-for-TV video clips.

Covering themes equivalent to the portrayal of race, ladies, fantasy, and nostalgia, Hollywood’s West makes an important contribution to the knowledge of ways Westerns have formed our nation’s evaluations and beliefs—often utilizing the frontier as metaphor for modern concerns.

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Extra resources for Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History

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Boston: Little, Brown, 1996. Wills, Garry. John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997. Wright, Will. Six Guns and Society: A Structural Study of the Western. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975. o PART ONE EARLY SOUND ERA WESTERNS 1931–1939 This page intentionally left blank 1o J. E. Smyth THE NEW WESTERN HISTORY IN 1931 RKO and the Challenge of Cimarron In early 1931, RKO Pictures released Cimarron, a history of an Oklahoma pioneering couple’s marriage from the opening of the territory to white settlement in 1889 to the film’s 1930 production year.

The film clearly evokes comparison with High Noon, but the criticism is directed against regional prejudice and the national movement to place Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II. ) As Westerns of the 1950s reflected cold war concerns, so films of the 1960s and 1970s addressed contemporary issues. Jon Tuska sees a late-century development of what he calls “a Western without heroes,” singling out Cat Ballou, along with Hang ’em High (1968), Will Penny (1968), and Monte Walsh (1970), as well as “Westerns with only villains,” in which class he also places Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch.

But the masses were no better than the masses of any society” (vii, 366). MacLeod’s work was largely unnoticed in academic circles (Klein 146–47), but Estabrook was certainly influenced by the maverick historian’s approach. Estabrook also refused to emulate the one major Hollywood precedent for Oklahoma history, W. S. Hart’s Tumbleweeds (1925), which had no interest in the 1893 opening of the Cherokee Strip beyond its role as a backdrop for romance. While Tumbleweeds ignored the Indian perspective and focused exclusively on the impending dispossession of the Strip’s free-range white cowboys, Estabrook retained Ferber’s revisionist picture of a multiracial and ethnic West, a dynamic space settled by Indians, mestizos, black and white southerners, Jews, and Anglo-Saxon northeasterners.

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