2017 – Breakout Session #1: The Western Genre


After the screening of “Jesse James” (1939), we will talk about the Western Genre and its world-wide influence, with special focus on Euro-Westerns and Revisionist Westerns. Any comments on this breakout session will be welcome!



45 thoughts on “2017 – Breakout Session #1: The Western Genre

  1. Not really a comment on our breakout session but more of a continuation. I was wondering where does a tv show like Little House on the Prairie and a movie like Brokeback Mountain (bbm) fit into all of this. I quite like both little house on the prairie and bbm and was wondering to myself in class if these are in fact considered westerns. After a quick google search i come to find out they in fact are considered westerns. I think these are two pretty unique examples of westerns because they veer far away from the typical stories of a pretty independent gun slinging man. Both productions are more focused on personal relations,but not in the usual context of vengeance, getting the girl or loyalty. Little house on the Prairie from what i remember is mainly focused around the family dynamic and the many dramas within a household and bbm focuses a lot on identities and the complexities of being a homosexual in an not so welcoming environment.
    Also it was mentioned in class how a variety of countries were influenced by the western genre, but we didn’t really talk much about films from other countries potentially influencing American westerns. I wonder if Japanese films like Gohatto about the homosexual samurai may have influenced a film like Brokeback Mountain??

    Anyways, I’m pretty interested in watching westerns that don’t follow the typical archetypes so if anyone has any suggestions of films to watch let me know! or if you have any thoughts on what i wrote above people continue the discussion!



    1. I highly recommend “The Road”, a movie about homeless Aragorn trying to protect his son from bandits and cannibals. The main characters don’t even have names in the film since the focus of the story is the setting and their survival. It is set in a post apocalyptic America that seems like it has gone through a nuclear winter. It’s setting gives it a sense of being like the Wild West including elements of the snow westerns we discussed in class. The story takes elements from westerns where the hero is trying to live off the land and the westerns that has the hero going on a journey through the wild. Just like in the West, the hero is suspicious of every person or persons he meets. Also, Viggo Mortenson was thinking of retiring after this movie because of the damage this role did to his body from the diet he went on to really look homeless.
      I also recommend “Rango”, a movie about Jack Sparrow as a lizard in a western town of cowboy animals. This is an animated movie that has a lizard named Rango, played by Johnny Depp, playing the role of the hero that comes into town to save them from a water crisis. It follows many tropes especially with the outsider hero archetype and the big company villain archetype. Also, this was one of the last films where Johnny Depp was truly talented before going all weird.
      Lastly, I gotta say that you need to see “Sukiyaki Western Django”, a movie about two samurai-ish clans trying to hire the lone gunman to their cause. Its filled with over the top action, katana vs. guns action, Japanese cavalry with shoulder mounted gattling guns and Tarantino cameo in a move he inst directing.


  2. I feel old westerns in America continued the gender issue that was already apparent in the movies prior. The Western’s almost always use the male as the main heroic character. Growing up in the US, I remember growing up around boys being cowboys and girls being the princess needing to be saved. This idea comes from many media images that as a child I would see. The young girls would watch the princess movies because that was the only movies that had women as the main characters. The young boys would watch cowboys and Indians where they were shown to be aggressive, courageous, strong, and the hero. I believe this idea of the women being a passive character which needs to be rescued and the male character being the courageous hero is ingrained due to the high influence of these movies as a child.

    On to another theme of Westerns, the setting. The setting of Westerns makes them easily distinctive. The drawback doors on the salon front, or the dusty town with the sleepy citizens are all essentials to the Western style. Dirty, dusty, brown color schemes, and messy clothing style are elements to the western as well. This is a very different settling that what the women are watching in their princess films.

    In princess movies, the settling is normally in a castle, clean, sparkly, bright colors, everything is beautiful and light. The princess Cinderella even begins her journey to becoming a princess by being a maid for her household. This brings an interesting dynamic to the two very different settlings that the opposing genders are being exposed too. Girl are seeing that clean and bright is correct yet the boys are seeing that dirty and dusty is the way to be. This is interesting considering girls are normally considered “cleaner” and are suppose to keep a clean house according to historical norms.

    Do you think the movies we watch as children effect the way we see the world around us? Do you think the movies have influenced the social norm of women cleaning up after men?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it is shown that the ideals from media influence the social norms and by influencing the social norms the movies follow the trends. This is the vicious cycle of the entertainment industry and how they both influence then cater to the audience.

      If we are talking about the western genre and women. Women of that time had a lot of influence and controlled a lot of went on in the towns, but this was in “unsavory” ways to the modern (60’s to 2000’s) ideals. If you look at history they were independent and made the money to buy what they wanted. I have noticed that movies have been adding women in prominent roles (some good and some bad) in recent years and they actually show larger sales than male driven ones. That has created somewhat of a push into the female main character. The problem I see and why it may not be gaining traction is that there are some very bad ones that get produced and hurt the growth. An example of this is in Ghostbusters. The reboot was in all aspects a bad movie, I say this because even if it was male driven, it still would have been a bad movie.

      The industry is in need of being shaken up like in the golden age and it seems to be getting just that with independent productions gaining traction as well as quality.


  3. The Western genre is indeed a very unique one and was also one of my personal favorite types of films to watch as a teenager. With that being said, it has been my pleasure learning about the earlier films in the genre that I was not entirely familiar with. The topics concerning the portrayals of minorities and the white-washing in particular piqued my interest. These issues are evident in the earlier films that we have seen parts of in class. While reflecting on these problems within the genre, I remembered about The Lone Ranger remake film which I watched a couple years ago. The film was released in 2013 (very recent!) and was a box office flop and received lukewarm reviews. In the film Johnny Depp plays Tonto who is a Native American character. As you can tell this caused bit of a controversy since the studio casted Johnny Depp who is obviously a caucasian instead of an actor who was a Native American. I see the problem with the casting itself as well, but the bigger problem I saw with the character was the fact that his face was painted white and black. As the other student has pointed out in class, perhaps they decided to do that just so that they don’t have to paint Depp’s face red to make him look Native American, thus avoiding further controversy. However I still see it as the studio making Tonto look strange and extraordinary to make the character marketable (perhaps an easy way to sell merchandise, such as action figures and halloween costumes.)
    The another thing I remember from the film regarding its portray of Native Americans (sorry to keep dragging on about this film, but many things about it shocked me considering the fact that it was released only 4 years ago) is the scene in which the Native American tribe gets slaughtered. I found the scene quite distasteful and apparently I was not the only one. When the film was receiving negative reviews, Quentin Tarantino listed The Lone Ranger as one of his favorite films of the year. Although he praised the film for its action sequences, he also expressed the problem he had with it which was that very scene of the slaughter. To paraphrase his comments, he pretty much said that it was wrong for them to include the scene of the slaughter of ‘the Indians’ in an entertaining film when these people have actually been victims of genocide in real life.
    Source: http://www.indiewire.com/2013/10/quentin-tarantino-shares-criticism-of-the-lone-ranger-thoughts-on-ben-affleck-as-batman-more-92790/
    It was also interesting to me that Quentin Tarantino was the one to speak out on this since he directed Django Unchained the same year, which was also very controversial due to the usage of the N word in the film. (He attempts to justify himself in the article).
    Now that I think about it, it is crazy that the Western-Action film that was produced and distributed by Disney in the year 2013 contains white-washing and a gruesome scene of the slaughter of the Native Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting that they used a white actor to play Tonto in 2013. When we were talking about white-washing of Native American characters and negative portrayal of Native Americans as savages etc, I was thinking back to watching reruns of the early Lone Ranger television series when I was about four years old. I was thinking that it was surprising that they wrote it with a Native American crime fighting partner for the Lone Ranger. I looked it up and that actor was actually Native American and the show ran from 1949 to 1957. I watched a couple of episodes on Youtube to see how Tonto was portrayed. Obviously he wasn’t portrayed as a violent savage. He was a good guy fighting crime. The Lone Ranger was the lead hero but he wasn’t disrespectful of Tonto and asked his opinion etc instead of just bossing him around. Other people did tend to refer to Tonto as “the Injun” instead of ever bothering to ask his name. And, Tonto did always speak in broken English with bad grammar. But, I’m not sure the broken English part is really that negative if they are trying to portray someone who learned English as a second language and never went to school which would probably be historically accurate. Anyway, I think the old series might have been pretty groundbreaking for showing a Native American as a crime fighting hero and showing a white hero and a Native American hero as best friends. As for the 2013 movie, I think it has to do with money more than racism. I think they just wanted Johnny Depp’s name on the film. But, like Karl said, it’s kind of a circular cycle. They will never have a big name Native American actor for those roles who can sell a lot of tickets if they never give one a chance.


  4. I grew up on a lot of westerns such as the TV series Gun Smoke and movies like Tombstone and Lonesome Dove. As a kid I never really realized the extent of stereotyping and practices such as whitewashing but after yesterdays class I now see how prevalent this was. However, I believe this practice is still in full swing today. If anyone has seen the HBO series DeadWood which is a modern western miniseries you would be shocked by the amount of ethnic stereotyping and even going after disabled people. For instance one of the main characters a saloon owner by the name of Al Swearengen intentionally belittles disabled people and Chinese immigrants as well as his brothel prostitutes on a daily basis. My question to everyone is this type of behavior in modern Westerns or other genres acceptable if it is being used as a historical narrative of the times or should such practices be abandoned by film?

    There is now in Hollywood a fine line when it comes to the topics of Political Correctness in film and when it is okay to show the darker side of humanity. Such movies like American History X take things to the extreme as was its intent but if viewers find these topics offensive should there be stricter codes by which filmmakers follow such as the Hays Code? Or, should we allow modern movies that depict topics such as white washing, ethnic stereotyping, black facing and other racial tropes to have their merits decided by the box office and those who view them?


  5. It was interesting that some white actors play as other ethnicities by painting their body with black, or yellow. I didn’t know that there are movies in which some white actors act as other ethnicities because as far as I remember I’ve never seen Japanese actors who take a role of other ethnicities. If a movie is a comedy, I understand the reason why a movie director decides to use a white person as other ethnicities, but if it’s a serious movie, I don’t think it will make a movie less realistic. I want to know the reason why those movie producers who made a decision of using white actors as other ethnicities.


    1. Actually Japan may not do much whitewashing but they still do a lot of black facing and they way they do it seems extremely terrible by western standards. I am not sure how native Japanese would feel about these movies as they just look so insensitive to my eyes. I know that in Korea and China they still do this as well and their versions are extremely offensive in the way they look and they way they depict African characters. I am not sure why that type of racism is so prevalent still but they probably have their own reasoning, even if the reasoning is probably not very good. I would like to know what is the feeling about such things in Japan.


  6. To be honest, I have never been a real fan of Westerns. They were always what my father or my grandfather would have on the TV on all day on Sundays. While I did become more interested in the genre when films such as Django Unchained and shows like Deadwood on showtime came out much later, I always associated them with those boring Sundays. However, as I grew an appreciation for history throughout my studies at university, I liked them for their historical significance, rather than the entertainment.

    Going back to Deadwood for a moment, that show was something I had never seen before in the Western genre. Curse words, detailed accounts of the lives of prostitutes, gruesome murder scenes, ethnic and racial stereotyping, you name it. I think it mixed a little of Hollywood and reality together in one show. I am pretty sure that the inhabitants of those Western towns were a mixed bag of renegades, outlaws, and just those looking to make a quick fortune, particularly during the time of the Goldrush.

    But again, I have never been huge fan of Westerns and watching them in class makes me feel as if I am back on my couch at home, 15 years old, continuously asking my dad when we can finally change the channel. I get that other people are huge fanatics when it comes to Westerns, especially with American icons such as Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

    I do have a question though: is Deadwood closer to a realistic account of those times or a typical old Western with someone like John Wayne?


    1. Deadwood is an awesome show. It feels like a blending of genres but in a very unique way. The way that they speak is not typical of a western movie. It feels more like Shakespeare. Despite being such a different dialect than what we expect from westerns it gives a more realistic look than most films or tv shows for this time period. We get a more realistic view of prostitutes instead of the love interest or strong woman in traditional westerns. We see the suffering and dilemma they actually had to live through. The ethnic and racial stereotyping is a lot more realistic as well instead of the heavily censored films we see. Just like in Django is was considered controversial how much they used the n word. It created an argument over historical accuracy or sensitivity. Does creating the authentic mood of the time period out weigh the feelings of some cultures that had to suffer from some of the stereotypes and language of that time period.


  7. I would like to comment on Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” (1969) and how it deviates from the norms of the western genre. We watched the opening scene of this film in the last class. I think Karl mentioned that Peckinpah may have been commenting on America’s involvement in the Vietnam war with this film. That makes sense not only because of the year the film was released but also because the lines between good and evil are blurred and because the violence is taken way beyond the norm of the genre both in it’s graphic depiction and its magnitude. In the first scene, the gang rides into a town dressed as soldiers and acting like very polite gentlemen. The audience immediately feels like this scene is safe because there are lots of good guys here. But, those good guys are actually bad guys. Then we see the bounty hunters who look like a gang and then find out they are hunting the gang. So, we might think they are good guys. Then the bounty hunters shoot down dozens of innocent people in the cross fire. Immediately after the part we watched, the surviving gang members ride out of town and the surviving bounty hunters start stealing from the dead bodies of the innocent townspeople they killed. They even argue about which one of them shot particular innocent people and should be entitled to rob them. This film never really has a “good guy” or “hero” in it which is very different from most western films. Even in “Jesse James”, there is some attempt to justify his life of crime and show him as human. The gang in “The Wild Bunch” never has any justification for any crimes other than wanting to steal money and they have no limits about who they kill. The final scene is set up like a final showdown that you see in many western films except both sides are bad guys and the gang uses a machine gun in the battle and kills tons of innocent people along with their enemies. The gang members all die and it was all just a useless slaughter.

    Another way this film varies from the typical western is the time period in which it’s set. You can tell by the military uniforms and the types of weapons that this is set sometime between 1911 and about 1915. According to IMDB, it was set in 1913 but I am not sure that is ever stated in the film. The typical six shooter revolvers that are in every western film are replaced with semi-auto pistols and machine guns. There is even at least one automobile in this film. I think Peckinpah did this to make the audience feel a little unsettled about this film. By 1913, law and order was mostly established in the west but these gang members were trying to hang on to a criminal lifestyle in an environment that was no longer conducive. In the end, all of the gang members die and the audience is left feeling like the old west has just come to an end.

    Besides having no hero and being in the “wrong” time period. This film stood out, especially in 1969, because of the violence. Not only did it stand out from western films before it but really all films before it. When people are shot, the audience actually sees bullets passing through them and this is frequently done in slow motion to accentuate it. Also, typically the only people who die in western films are the bad guys except for maybe a few good people who are killed by the bad guys at the beginning to make us hate them. But, in this film, innocent men, women, and children are killed in great numbers. No grief is shown for these people as if they are totally expendable. This may be another comment about the brutality of the Vietnam war.


    1. I like how you payed attention to the detail of the military uniforms. I also look for historical accuracy when I’m watching movies set in a certain time. I didn’t know that law and order had mostly been applied in the West by that time.

      I know it was around the time of the Mexican-American War with characters like Poncho Villa grabbing the headlines of American newspapers. I think the golden age of the West was in the decades following the American Civil War. You had a country that had pulled itself out of the ashes of war and slavery and a migrant population moving west.

      It’s always fascinating to think that the places we know as modern day metropoles such as Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle were, at that time (1870s-1900s), mere outposts or not even existing yet.


  8. This past week in class was really interesting. We watched a lot of clips from western movies and seen the prime of whitewashing in films. Although many films tried to get away from this, it can be seen in one way or another how whitewashing was at that time. It was sad to see how native Americans were portrayed as enemies, and often they have no rights. There were some films that tried to show native Americans as the good guys, however their roles weren’t lead roles. Buffy Sainte-Marie song was really beautiful to listen to and I liked how she played the guitar. The message behind this song is what made it beautiful, it called for peace and freedom. We watched some clips from the film Once Upon a Time in the West, I got to say that I really liked what I watched. The camera techniques and movements were really great. The use of the camera to create suspense and comedy in the shots were amazingly done. The ads we watched of American actors in Japanese Tv were really funny and weird to watch at the same time. The clip we watched on stop-motion opened my eyes to a side of cinema I wasn’t well informed about before. Valley of Gwangi is a western film about a dinosaur appearing in the west. Doing all these visual effects at that time is really impressive. Although comparing it to today’s effect it looks fake, the way they did it back then when they didn’t have the advantages we have today was really fascinating. Another groundbreaking movie which mixed reality with visual effects is Westward. In this film has they used an effect on the actor eyes which made it look like it’s made of iron and made him like a robot. This gave the character a scarier look and something different from movies at that time. In the film Cut Throat Nine they did a makeup in the enemy head which made it look scary. However, in this film, I didn’t feel that the makeup was well done. According to the professor, the budget of the movie wasn’t that good, that’s why it didn’t look as realistic. Overall, the huge amount of information we consumed the past week about western movies and other topics were really interesting and fun to learn. I learned a lot of new information which was surprising and interesting at the same time.


  9. To be honest, western genre isn’t very easy for me to find a personal connection with it because I don’t have any background knowledge about the genre. But, Karl’s lessons about a western genre was a good start for me to learn about the genre. Every fighting scenes in the western movie were very fascinating and cool although I felt worried about horses. Because most of the fighting scenes in western movies involving horse rid, they are so speedy and entertain. I was amazed by the great performance of both actors and horses.

    However, after I watched many clips of western movies in the class, I realized that there are few black people who act as a leading cowboy and got a question about it. My question is why are there few black people act as cowboys? We watched couple western movies in which black people take a role of a cowboy, but the number is very few. And, I wonder if that was a fact that there were few cowboys who were black in the real life or if that was just a casting matter for movies at the time. Karl mentioned that western movies are the good sources to see American history in the past, so I thought most of the western movies showed the reality in the past and expected to see more ethnically diverse people act as a leading cowboy. I believe that there were different races living in western America at the time, so I got a question that was being a cowboy only a white people thing? and were there few black or other racial people who were a cowboy?


    1. To be honest, after the Civil War the majority of cowboys were African American. Since so many people went off to fight in the war all the African Americans had to fill in the jobs that the soldiers left behind. They actually became really talented at these jobs so when the soldiers came back they were able to keep their jobs instead of having to give them back. I do not remember the percentage exactly but I think it was over 50% over cowboys were black people. The reason that there were not so many in movies was Hollywood. For whatever reason they decided not to venture into black cowboy culture until much later in movie history. What surprises me is that I thought during blaxploitation period there would be a lot more black cowboy movies because during this time period westerns were still alive I believe. Western did not truly die until after Clint Eastwood era.


  10. Another thing which Karl taught us makes very sense to me was that violence in the movie was developed as the technology was developed. I was like ” That’s so true!”. I knew that the quality of the movies become better because of the development of technology, but I never thought about why the number of violent scenes increased, so it was interesting.


  11. It is interesting how certain genres are continuously made but in the other hand, certain genres did not make through Hollywood. Some become too blunt or “feel old” and fade away. It was not so surprising when I found out western is one of the genres that gradually became unpopular after the 1970s just because I’ve always felt like the genre is outdated or old. (sorry! my personal opinion) Marvel superheroes are becoming a lot more appealing to the audience than cowboys and just as we talked in class, people may have grown bored of the repeated structure of westerns. (The wild nature in conflict with the civilized society) I also think that superhero movies are more easier to bring yourself into because we are more used to the setting inside the movie. The main heroes themselves can be college students or business men living a life not so different than ours.
    Recently Disney’s The Lone Ranger has failed the box office despite having Johnny Depp as the lead, the same producers as the pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and was marketed very big in various countries. This may have proven once again the disinterest of people in the western genre.
    However, weird western films are trying to combine the western with other genres to make it more interesting. One film mentioned in class put together dinosaurs and the western theme. Logan is also regarded as a weird western, and it made a big hit. However, I don’t necessarily think that we can say that the western genre is regaining its audience if weird western films are in success because they can be very different from the classic western film. Nonetheless, I think it is a good way to lead people to start talking about the film and maybe spark some interest in the genre itself. Especially people who have barely or never seen a western film before may become curious about it after watching a weird western film.
    Like this, mixing genres are a common way to create new content out of preexisting ones. I specifically like watching comedy horror films because usually you would think that comedy and horror can never go together. It betrays your expectation that you have about the genre, but I feel like that is what makes it feel so fresh and attractive. (Part of me just doesn’t have the guts to watch a serious horror film and need those comedy breaks haha)
    It was also slightly sad, but interesting how the cowboys in westerns evolved from heroic to anti heroic figures.It was sad to think how people were no longer able to relate or feel realistic about classic heroes. The war and depression after the mid 1940s until now where we have terrorist attacks and shootings made people less and less trusting of each other. Morally pure characters are now often seen as silly characters instead.
    I am sorry I just realized probably half of this blog is not specifically about western film …


  12. Western movies seemed to be the norm with all the iconic actors we have been discussing the last few weeks pumping out film after film while maintaining world wide popularity. For comparison, the modern equivalent would be super hero movies and the recurring actors we see in those films. I had always been a fan of western movies but I grew up in the 90s which was right after what many people believed to be the end of the western genre. My whole life I knew westerns as that genre of movie that only came out once every few years. Mostly they seemed like passion projects of directors that grew up in the era of western films being dominate or remakes of old westerns to try and revive the genre. How did such a popular genre suddenly fade out? It seems like part of a cycle. Traditional monster movies have faded away except for the giant monster or zombie films. Film noire and gangster movies have mostly disappeared as well. I’m not sure how the western genre was lost but I do now that its final days as the most popular film genre were spent with Clint Eastwood. His final western was “Unforgiven” which won him an Oscar. Despite being an awesome film, that is about the time that we stop seeing westerns dominate the box office. Eastwood himself even called this film the end of the western.
    Another thing I wanted to talk about was the cross genre films we discussed in class. Mostly, we talked about sci-fi westerns, comedy westerns, and horror westerns but I was reminded of a certain film that used the western to evolve another genre. The movie Rango is an animated western designed to break the notion that animated films are only for children. The film was still marketed as a children’s movie but by using the western setting and tropes it was able to bridge the age gap and make a film enjoyable for all ages. There were other animated films that the whole family could enjoy but none were so heavy handed in their attempt to appeal to an older audience. It included even went as far as including a cameo from Clint Eastwood.
    Also, one thing I really wanted to discuss was the movies we mentioned in class that have a modern remake like Westworld, True Grit, Magnificent Seven and 3:10 to Yuma. I have seen all the modern versions of these older films but have not seen any of the originals. From what I’ve heard; Westworld is just as good because it is different enough from the original, Magnificent Seven is an enjoyable blockbuster version of the original film, and the modern True Grit and 3:10 to Yuma are better than the originals but would like to watch the originals to create my own opinion. I was wondering if anyone else has seen both the old and new versions and can give me their opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought western movies are male dominated movies, so I was surprised that some western movies had females as the main characters. Also, old movies severally show women as weaker than men, such as the Sunrise. In Jessi James’ movie, a woman’s roll was to support the main character and not to fight, so I thought this movie would be the as same as other old movies which shows women in a weaker position than men. However, in class, someone mentioned in the Jessi James’ movie, a women’s position is described as being more powerful than in some other movies. When a woman kissed the main character, her position was above the man, even though the majority of movies show kissing scenes where the man seems more powerful than the woman. I did not realize this point, so I think the opinion is very interesting.
    Western movies had an image of covering action scenes like shooting, but the action was more violent and more dynamic than I expected. At the time when western movies were popular, compared to present movies, action techniques were not sophisticated. However, in the short clips, the action scenes are comparable to the present. I wonder how people did action stunts such as falling from a horse in a confused fight.
    Landscapes were nicely pictured in the western movies, and I feel wide shots were used many times. In more recent western movies, in the clips, it shows not only wide shots, but also closeup scenes. For example, when horses attack, the camera angle become really closeup and takes under angle shots.
    Before I had a lecture on this, I thought western movie characters were not complicated and the good side always won using a gun, but without much blood. Through the lecture, I learned western movies are not only made in a classic style, western movies are changing and some have branched off spaghetti westerns. The last clip which has a dinosaur in the western movie is interesting. I did not expect that this movie uses animation which looks like CG.


  14. I think that western genre is famous internationally and I remember back when I was younger, I often see these movies shown on TV. Cowboys movie is usually what I used to watch when I was a kid and it does implant an idea that that is how America is. I only realized that it wasn’t till I grew up a little older. However, what I know that when I rewatch the movies, it was different than what I remembered. At first, the way they portray the other characters also made me think that that’s is how they were and how they look like. However I realized that most of these actors are actually white and they acted as someone else. After several classes, I’m still wondering why wouldn’t they hired the actors that is fits the role and not whitewash? Which also reminded me of the movie called Tropic Thunder where Robert Downey Jr acted as a black guy for some time in the movie and I wonder, how would that be? I am unsure if that would still considered as White Washing because if I am not mistaken that at the end of the movie, he showed that he was in disguised. This doesn’t not only apply to all the western movie, but I notice that even tv shows are also doing the same thing. There was a news about the Simpson’s show that they portray the Indian character as a convenience store manager. This is common things that I’ve seen around and not only that, there was a movie called Short Circuit 2 about an Indian scientist. However the actor was white. This got me thinking yet again on why does this happen?
    Other than that, I noticed that these days, there are not much cowboy’s movie being shown. I might not be paying attention to it but I feel like most movies in cinemas lacks cowboy’s movie. In the future, is there any chance of western movie will be gone? Back in the earlier days, I notice that western movie is famous and there’s a lot of movie that came out. Even reboots. I notice that most characters is male and usually the hero is a male as well but I was surprised that, when Karl showed us the clips. There were female as lead and even blacks which I find very interesting. I think that not only the people would be surprised but that would also make them to be into the movie even more. Having a different lead character will always attract more people into watching the movie.
    Lastly, what I found most interesting was the movie about the dinosaurs. Valley of…. ( I couldn’t remember the name) No matter how long the movie have been out I feel like the movie still have a unique feel to it and people will always remember the movie. Any movie that is about dinosaurs or anything related would trace back to the movie. The work is not as easy as it looks like and another thing it reminded me of was animated movies that was directed to Tim Burton, the movement and all gives me a sense that they inspired Tim Burton which somehow I feel like that it is giving a similar vibe.


  15. I was not familiar with western genre films, but the lectures would help me to watch western genre film in a different way in the future. There are some points that I am interested in.
    As professor mentioned during the class that The Magnificent Seven has been influenced by Seven Samurai, and there are some similarities between Japanese samurai drama (Jidaigeki) and western films. The main character in both genre is usually an outlaw like Jessie James or a man fighting for a justice like Will Kane in High Noon. Also, they have a strong will that they stick to it till they die. The other common point is weapons. Both genre use weapons such as swords and guns to fight, and audiences would be overwhelmed their performances.
    I did not know that some western films have racist stereotypes such as discrimination against Native American. Also, I was shocked that many Native American were not played by Native American. For example, I think Native American is looked down on in Broken Arrow. When Tom Jeffords finds a boy and saves his life, Tom Jeffords is shot by low angle shot. Because of that camera angle, Tom Jeffords looks strong and powerful, but also it looks like that they are not equal. I am not sure that the filmmakers intended to do that. But since I watched Broken Arrow as one of the films which includes discrimination against Native American, I felt that camera angle has such meaning. Someone said that when Tom Jeffords talks about telegraph to Native American, it sounds like Native American has lack of development of technology. I agree with it. However, the other films such as Comanche, Native American and a white man are talking equally because the conversation has gone back and forth, and the film seems to have had much respectful than other films. I did not know that there are films including discrimination against Native American. Film is one of the ways to express ideas which is also able to affect someone’s idea negatively. This is why I think such discrimination should not be included in a film again. I have not watched almost all the films which professor introduced during the class, so I would like to watch them when I have a chance.


    1. I agree with you that there are similarities between western films and samurai movies. As addition to your comment, I think less romantic and comedic scenes is also similarity between them.
      I did not think about the connection between discrimination and camera angles, but when I think back on it, it is pretty good outlook I think.


  16. The western genre is one Im roughly familiar with, you kind of naturally arenif you grew up in the states. Shame we never got to the sphegetti westerns and some clint eastwood clips but I suppose Ive already seen them anyways. I enjoyed this breakout session and learning a bit more about how these types of films are structered and shot. A couple of the clips in the last session intrigued me, I feel like Ive seen West World before but it has been so long that Ive completely forgotten it. I watched it after class and really liked the concept, I can definitely see what inspired terminator and jurassic park. I was surprised however by the film’s pacing, the majority of the film is all set up, and things don’t really start happening until the final thirty minutes of the film. The ending was rather abrupt and unsatisfying but I enjoyed the film nonetheless. Maybe vague spoilers here so maybe stop reading here but I was disappointed that nothing really happened when any either the protagonist or the villain entered the ancient greece section of the park, there could have been a fun duel or interaction there but it was skipped right over. Enjoyed the movie but it couldve been better, I don’t feel the short scenes with the scientist’s exposition did enough to build up the tone or keep the tension high, the first half of the filmfelt very fun and light in contrast with the final act. It was interesting however that how out of our two main characters, Richard Benjamin’s character Peter becomes our hero after James Brolin’s character dies in the shootout (which was shown in class so I dont think that’s spoiling anything), just given the fact that James Brolin seems to have that more typical leading man / action hero look to him, not to mention with a very strong character name like John Blane.

    I also watched Tomahawk Bone, the trailer was fantastic and I’m a huge Kurt Russel fan so I was really intrigued by that one. Very good movie, if I hadn’t been told it was a B movie, I wouldn’t have known. I won’t spoil anything but I will say while there’s a few moments of action sprinkled throughout, its mostly during the final act sort of like West World. But in contrast with that movie, it works here. There’s enough happening theoughout to stay invested, and keep the film suspensful, you also never really see the “monster” or antagonists of the film clearly until the final act which helped build it up. I’m pretty desensitized but the Tomahawk Bone was surprising gory, but it’s used rather effectively and aparingly that it never became too much. As for how Native Americans were portrayed it was rather unique. A native american explained how they are not “his people”, but rather savage cave dwellers, almost not human. When asked how to distinguish them, the native remarks how someone like them would not tell them apart from any other native American. African American’s portrayal was the usual helper sort of role, a small stable boy role. But it rings true for the time period, I didnt think much of it. The four protagonists were all interesting characters in their own way, and not all that typical. The talkative old timer that doesn’t know which way to wind his watch I guess that’s rather standard, but then you have the trope of the old and the new however with it’s own spin. The sherif played bu Kurt Russel is the older more sturn hero but he’s not thick headed or stuck in his old ways, he’s the rational more level headed one. Where the younger hero is determined but more irrational, on top of which is crippled from the beginning of the movie. Then I suppose you have a stuck up, arrogant, anti-hero character with questionable morals which get explained away later on in the film. Dont want to go into too muh detail but overall I enjoyed this film a lot.


  17. First, I want to state the Western Genre and how its world-wide influence. It represents 19th century’s American old west, and the central ideas are life of a cowboy and gunfighter. Mostly, they bring a gun and horse with them. Heroism and anti-heroism, they are both apply in the movie story. And, those elements create a more excited movie for audience. And, nowadays, directors follow this rule to makes movie. What do you guys think this story structure helps increasing the level of excited? I believe the Heroism and anti-heroism develop a complex story; it supports the story’s rhythm. It satisfies audience favor; what audience want is an excited movie. However, that kind of movie story becomes popular. As a result, the Western Genre effects around the world movie creation. I enjoy those movies includes those elements as it makes me think about the right and wrong. And, let me has a space to draw a line between right and wrong. Ultimately, the heroism sometime isn’t hundred percent right.
    Let’s move on to talk about Revisionist Western’s movie, what do you guys think about the Significant point of Revisionist Western? And, how it works in 19th century? Some of the movie, creating after World War II, people start coming up some question about the central idea of western movie; that’s Ideal and style. In the movie “Jesse James”, we touch a lot of power and how people face power. I remember the scene, the starting part of the story, the power need to buy citizen land to develop the railway system. And, they use a low price to get that. As a result, the citizens are not agreeing the trading for government offer. Revisionist Western’s movie are strongly point out American government and big trading. The power mostly dressing up nicely, and the normal people, citizen need to agree them at all with no reason. I think that makes a question to me, how in the 19th century government and power work? I mean it is a fake democracy society as the power and government are easy to get everything form the citizens. I want to point out the Historical reality and fact, and the old American life. That’s a big question to me, as I want to know how peoples’ life in 19th in America. I will continue this point late…. I’m not finishing my blog.


  18. I expanded quite heavily during the Jessie James blogging session, however I suppose I need to say more.

    I found it interesting that other cultures found the Western interesting. In 2017, I often assume most countries hate the U.S. and its culture. For most of my life, 28 years to this point, I can only recall the Clinton years as having somewhat international appeal to the rest of thew world (and I’m sure there are few Serbians who didn’t like Clinton all that much).

    What could possibly be more Americana than the Western film genre? I suppose in the 1960’s and 1970’s the anti-American sentiment was not so profound as to dissuade the German and Italian cultures from being fascinated by the American frontier stories. The masculinity tropes, the ambiguous struggle between good and evil, and the romanticization of the gritty West must be somewhat transcendent entertainment mechanisms.

    I also found it interesting that the portrayal of minorities was largely more progressive in the Euro-Westerns. Frankly it is embarrassing how tightly American culture held on to toxic depictions of minorities while the rest of the civilized world paid these communities much more respect (all the while proclaiming American greatness).

    In addition to my feelings about the Euro-Westerns, the entire topic of violence in film in front and center in this while genre. From the fire-from-the-hip in any particular direction to actual blood and flesh wounds, it does seem that Westerns, perhaps more than Gangster films, explored and pressed the limits of on screen violence. Although it may not be considered as such, the recent DiCaprio movie, The Revenant, is certainly one of the most modern Westerns to have been made. It takes place on the frontier, it has battles with Indians, it is a revenge story, and is ridiculously violent. Between the Revenant and Django Unchained, violence has reached its zenith in this genre to date.

    The real question for me though is why is it that it is difficult for audiences today to go backwards on the violence continuum? Perhaps one of the classic examples of audiences being utterly unable to watch “violence” without bursting into laughter is the Star Trek episode 19 “Arena”. In this episode, Captain Kirk does “battle” with an lizard-man, called a Gorn, in a way that can only be described as interpretive dancing. The choreography is so foul and the pace is slower than a slug in quicksand. Audiences at the time must have accepted it for the television that it was. But today however, it’s considered to be so bad that clips of the episode have reached memetic status.

    Contrast this with ANY Tarantino flick, especially his western Django Unchained. Well there is no comparison. But how this transformation in the expectation of violence and realism on the silver screen changes is an interesting psychological question, one that I cannot answer. What I can say though is that I am certain that many of the techniques that make on screen violence seem real to the audience have their roots on the film sets of the early Western films. I’m just not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.


  19. To be honest, I have never been interested in Western genre films until this class because I thought that Western genre is all about gun shooting, horse riding, and fighting. Also, due to my lack of interest in Western genre, I thought that all western movies have almost same platforms and depiction of each characters, such as white men who are depicted as good and brave men fight against native American who are depicted as brutal. So, it was quite interesting for me to watch different variations of western genre films and learn more about them in this class.

    Because I never had an opportunity to watch films of this genre, it was the first time for me to know that there are many actions in Western movie. Action scenes what I watched in the classes were quite amazing, like gun shooting while riding horses and falling off from horses. At the same time, I was shocked to watch how animals were used in those films, especially Jesse James. I know that there was no choice but to use real horses for making these scenes real, but it would be shocking for many of us who are not familiar with animal stunt to know animal stunts in western genre films were shoot without computer graphics at that time.

    Also, I was surprised that white actors play other ethnicities with relaying on body paint and make-up, like Burt Lancaster played Massai in Apache 1954. Not only in Western genre, as Professor Karl mentioned in classes, several minorities characters were whitewashed in Hollywood, such as Cleopatra played by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra 1963. I do not know reasons why directors of those movies did not choose actors who had same ethnicity with characters, but it seems that there is high possibility that they chose actors from the idea of white supremacy. If those directors are white, that possibility increases. I think that those whitewashing in Hollywood are disrespectful viewers who are from those minority ethnicities.

    Not only white supremacy, I think that there is the image of male dominance in Western genre films from watching many types of early western films. As a reason for that, I found that there are not many female characters in those films. Also, all main characters were male in western genre films what we saw in classes. In addition, I found that female characters were portrayed as weak and passive while male characters were depicted as strong, brave, and hero.

    Even though I have never seen western genre, I was familiar with sounds which were used in western genre films. For instance, opening sound of “The Magnificent of Seven” reminded me Disney movies.

    Overall, I am glad to have a chance to watch many types of films in western genre and to know that my impression about western genre films what I had before was completely wrong. Even though I found some racial and gender discrimination in those films, I understood why there are many huge fan of this genre films from watching them and knowing deeply about then in classes.


    1. As you said in your blog, almost all the western films focused on a male character. They have gender role stereotypes which overgeneralize inaccurate gender image. The time those films were made has a stereotype that women stay home as wives and mothers to do housework. That is why female characters are depicted weak and innocent. However, there are some films which female plays a main character. For example, in the film “Hannie Caulder” (1971), which professor introduced during the class, a main character is played by female. I find the website which introduces Female-led Westerns, so I put the link below. I think the stereotype tends to change now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you that there were many overogeneralized gender stereotype in western genre films. Actually, I thought that many old films have those gender stereotypes, especially about women, not only in American films but Japanese films. Yet, I thought that those overoganized stereotype about women was highly noticeable in Western genre more than others because they emphasized strongness of male characters. Thank you for letting me know that website, this is really helpful for me to learn western genre more and several ways of depictions of women in western genre.


    2. I got the same comments on Western films that you had when I watched the different clips from Western in the class. I thought Western films we’re always about white men fight against native American. But, through the classes , I learned that there are some Western films where native American are not dipicted as bad people, where women take a lead, or where a robot cowboy is used. So, it was interesting to discover that there are different varieties in Western film for me too.

      I was also surprised that locations of some Western films are at snowing places. I thought the locations of Western we’re always at desert. So it was interesting too.


      1. Yes, I realized my lack of knowledge about western genre, at the same time, I thought this class was really good opportunity to know them jsut like you. I did not think about the location, but come to think of it, your outlook is pretty good I think.


  20. Every time when I think about Western genre films, cowboys riding their horses and chasing the bad guys comes up to my mind all the time. Despite not growing up watching those films, I always admire the whole concept of cowboys riding with their horses and galloping across the vast desert showing those beautiful canyons. After the whole discussion, my perspective towards Western genre films changed.

    Firstly, now that I have seen several scenes from different variety of Western films, the male actors are always the leading protagonist. They tend to have to the role of the hero that saves the town and also rescues the female protagonist. Speaking of female protagonists, I noticed a common trend from scenes where they have the role to guide the male protagonists like giving advises especially that the last scene in Jesse James where Zee was telling Jesse to leave the whole bandit concept for her and his son.

    Another concept that I learned from those films were that they also had Native Americans as part of the films to relate to the US history. From what I observed from those kind of films, those films share a similar story plot like a protagonist was raised by the Native American and becomes one of them, only then gets discovered by the Western-influenced people. Another story plot was that the protagonists gets captured by the Native Americans and quickly befriends with them and stop their people to tell them they do not intend to harm and want to live peacefully. As soon as films use those story plots, they tend to influence more films like the spoken languages by the Native Americans. The Western also influenced other films and mix the genre like The Valley of Gwangi where the cowboys captures a T-Rex with somehow reminded me of Jurassic Park and West World where it had a mixture of Western Cowboy and The Terminator.

    Moving onto the technical side of the Western films, most of it tend to show extreme wide shots of the setting like the canyons and deserts in the beginning. Another scene that I remembered was the extreme close up shot of Harmonica showing his serious and intense eyes when he is about to duel with the bad guys. This shot creates a tense and thrilling mood on not just the scene itself but also delivers it to the audience. It never really occurred the importance of a camera angle shot to me until we had the discussion.

    Lastly was the interesting topic that we discussed was about the white-washing. After the lecture, it never really hit me about the concepts of stereotyping of the ethnicity of the roles. Especially like how they are trying to make actors play roles that does not suit their ethnicity. I know some actors today that portrayed a different ethnicity background for their characters. One film that was released a few months back that shows white-washing was Doctor Strange. The film created a controversy of the actress Tilda Swinton, who portrayed an Asian character called “The Ancient One”. The character was not just meant for an Asian role, but also as a male actor which also shows another topic about gender-swapping. This shows that even today, films have a bit of trouble on white-washing. Overall, I learned a ton of new information and changed my perspectives towards Western genre films.


  21. Howdy! That sure was a lot of westerns all at once huh? I recognized quite a few of them, but there were still plenty on the slides and in the clips I hadn’t seen!

    I also knew that the western has influenced so many different generas, but I didn’t realize there were quite so many sub-genera within the western genera!

    Like I said before, I grew up with westerns, and I can definitely see where the whole ‘role model’ of the western hero thing played into my childhood. Just for funzies, here’s a link to a western style episode of a cartoon I remember very fondly from my childhood!

    It plays off of a lot of the staples of the western genera, as well as parodying some famous scenes and ideas from famous movies, and is just generally amusing as far as tame children’s cartoons go. I still find myself getting the songs used as exposition stuck in my head. Though, again, growing up I never really thought about how it was a western and not just normal historical stuff, being from the south and all.

    Speaking of childhood things, I forget when the last time I’d watched West World was, but I loved it as a kid. Looking back, it’s a lot darker than I remembered it as a kid. I guess I was too busy being wow’ed by the special effects and science junk.

    Though I suppose most of the revisionist westerns were quite violent. I guess I’d never really noticed when I was younger. America is a very violent place compared to many other parts of the world, especially Japan, so it’s a little bit of a culture shock to think about how starkly different my perception of violence in media has become since living in Japan for a few years. I used to think ultra violence was normal, especially when I was a kid. Amazing how the things we see as kids shape our perceptions of things.

    Since I have such an interest in music, I find it worth sharing that this class is about the third time I’ve heard the term ‘Americana’. The first time was actually from this song that was popular a while back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBZwZ2dyjBY

    The second time I’d read it online in an article I was reading to brush up on my film knowledge. And then the third time was in this class, where I was given a far more definitive definition than I’d had before of what the term means. So, interesting that someone from America who grew up on westerns had really never heard the term ‘Americana, don’cha think?

    Anyways, that’s all for now.


  22. I was little surprised at the variety of western movies. I did not know that there are a lot of types film in the Western genre such as traditional US Western, Euro-Western, and Revisionist US Western. For my personal opinions or experience, these western films are quite similar, and I have not realized that differences if I had not listened to the lecture. So, it was very interesting for me. I did not know that some white actors from Europe played the role of Native American for some Western films with heavy accents and spiritual tattoos. Also, I did not know that Western films deal with a lot of controversial issues such as ethnic and racial issues, gender roles, and modernization. Especially, I am really interested in Westen films which deal with gender roles and racial issues because I think that modern films do/ can not represent such issues directly, but they (even typical American Hero films) use Asian, Black, Native, or people from other minority groups as an actor or actress to avoid criticisms for racial issues from audiences.
    Also, hero setting was interesting for me because there are a lot of hero movies in America, but the traditional Western films made a base that hero is required or expected.
    Before taking this lecture, the Western genre is not my favorite, but now I want to watch the Western films and focus on the background story hidden in the mainstream.


  23. I have to admit that my general knowledge of movies and movie industry is not exactly broad. When it comes to western movies, my knowledge is even more limited. Before this session in class, I had watched only one western movie, and on top of that, I was way too young to remember anything of it. The only feeling that I have always had is that western movies are not my thing. I have never given it a chance, as I was sure that I was going to dislike them. Jesse James is, therefore, my very first western. And it surprised me indeed. I was expecting Native Americans to be the bad guys in the movie, and the umpteenth story of how the brave, white man manages to protect the nation from their uncivilized manners and habits. This was the kind of plot I associated to every western movie, probably for no reason. When we watched the movie, however, I obviously did not see any Native American. This left me confused, until we went over the main symbols of western movies and what traditional westerns celebrate. Karl completely changed my perspective on this genre. Because of my limited knowledge and appreciation, in fact, I would have never picked up more significant themes such as ‘establishment vs development’ and ‘righteousness of action/character’. Moreover, the reflection of social issues put into historical context displayed by western movies is incredible. These movies do not simply tell a story, intriguing the audience, by they do so by denouncing living conditions, historical practices, and, in certain cases, real events. In Jesse James, for instance, the plot represented the rise of crime due to the loss of land suffered by many farmers in real life.
    I have also never realized that western movies can be categorized into three groups: Traditional, European, and Revisionists. The traditional westerns, even though they are the basis for the topic, were the least interesting point in the breakout session. As they are the more common, and ultimately similar to each other, they do not interest me as much as the other two types. It must be said, however, that the comparison between these three kinds of western was fascinating, especially when it came to the ideologies behind them, and the way minorities are treated in them. This comparison clearly shows how different continents and different time periods can influence a single genre.
    Euro westerns were a surprise as well. First of all, as I have already said, I did not expect it to be considered a genre on its own. After seeing some of the clips Klaus provided, however, it was clear that the differences between traditional western movies and European western movies were deep; Native Americans were the good guys in some German movies, for instance. Generally speaking, Euro westerns have a completely different perspective of Native Americans than American westerns. It would have definitely been interesting to watch a German or Italian western and compare it to a Traditional one in terms of esthetics, ideology, protagonist, and minority.
    Another interesting concept that we covered in class is that of violence. After Karl’s lecture, I began to think that the evolution of violence in western movies corresponds to the evolution of western movies themselves in time. I always associated the image of western movies to that of pure violence, due to gun shootings and a high number of deaths in every movie. I did not realize that, because of the Hays code, almost no violent act could be shown on the screen. When Karl said that certain scenes instead of being threatening or scary turn out to be funny I could not understand what he meant. And then I heard a “boom!”, and saw a man falling from a running horse. No blood, no close-ups on the victim, nothing really that showed the result of the violence. Year after year, violent scenes became to be more vivid, getting closer and closer to what we associate to the concept of “violence” today. Moreover, how violently a scene is shown is another characteristic that differentiate American western and European western; never thought about this either.
    Last, but not least, I really appreciated how the session on western movies allowed us to touch upon minorities on the screen. Even though I was familiar with the concept of role stereotyping (huge in westerns, especially for women characters), the concept of whitewashing, blackfacing and yellow facing were almost new to me. In certain cases, the application of the ‘techniques’ was more than apparent, in others it was less so. However, I must say that in certain circumstances it might be an obligation more than a decision. I might be wrong, but, for the role of Cleopatra, for instance, I think I would have been hard if not impossible to find an Egyptian woman, good at acting, fluent in English and willing to take part in the movie. In other cases, however, it was a shameful practice, with hindsight.


  24. There was a point in time where I didn’t mind westerns so much. Of course, growing up we were all accustomed to cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians, so there was definitely a phase where being a cowboy or even an Indian was interesting to be during playtime or during Halloween. Being young I definitely didn’t acknowledge the racial issues that were being expressed in western films. Now seeing them in class, there were major racial factors that are surprising that I missed. Some films did make Indians seem more wise and knowledgeable and make Caucasians look like the bad guys who are more aggressive and entitled. Other films, which is not surprising, made Indians seem more dangerous and aggressive than Caucasians were. I don’t remember the film title, but there was a remark in class about how a woman who was taken into the Indian family, was happy to be in the family and instead of going back home with her long last brother, she wanted to stay with the Indian family. This shows a lot about the maker of the film and his beliefs and how he was trying to make a movement by showing this film to the world. If Indian people were as dangerous as the world presumed, then why would the woman be so inclined to stay with them instead of going with her brother? Although there were films that were trying to make them seem like the good guys and more wise than most, they were still white washed and still not given lead roles. They were more like side characters that we didn’t really focus on. I think it would’ve been best if they had made a couple Indian characters the focus of attention so that the message could be clearer. However, maybe there was a reason they didn’t make them the focus of attention. It could be possible that because of these times that race was such a strong issue, they purposely didn’t put them as the main characters because people could not come to watch the movie and the message would be lost and there would have been no point in making the film.
    As I’ve gotten older, I really haven’t found any interest in western films, except recently there was a recent remake film of “the magnificent seven” which was really good to me. Denzel Washington was amazing as always as the leading role and it shows how much times has changed having an African American man as a leading role in a western film. The film was funny, the action was smooth and capturing, and there was still the racial difference of not trusting the Indian character who they believed to be a savage, but since times has changed, the feeling was more different than watching an old film with racial differences. I can’t explain it although they are very similar. Maybe it’s because even though race is still an issue today, we don’t see Indians as savages and the film today was just showing how people viewed them back then and in today’s film they weren’t aggressive and more like the actual character. Old films gave us a different perception. I think with films today, I’m so used to technology and up to date amazing editing that older westerns are too cheesy for me or I can’t take them seriously. I will say that other westerns that peaked my interests that weren’t too action filled like “The magnificent seven” was “forsaken” and “jane got a gun”. However, like I said before westerns before don’t really peak my interests like they did when I was younger.


  25. Let me continue my blog, let’s discuss the historical reality. Sometimes, directors want the movie to get a good selling, that lets them to use unexaggerated way to re-build the historical reality in the movie story. However, in those stories, the government, masculine, or big business seems like out of our real life. For instance, in Jesse James, we can see a normal citizen to shoot those big man in the story. But, it cannot be realizing in our real life. We’ll get a big trouble with it. Those lawlessness things in the story; I think it cannot represent historical reality. As a result, we cannot learn old American history in those filming. And, it is a chance to study a wrong thing in the movie. However, we know movie is not a good teacher material for student. But, I trust students have a good critical think for learning. And, they can able to draw a line between right and wrong.


  26. Overall watching western films, the topic base is european vs native american. Therefore, every film started with as an enemy with very fighting mode and mostly focusing on both sides riding horses and chasing each other. However, it finished with friendly relations. Which will see in recent movies too, like they first had a bad relation, but ended becoming friends. Also, these eras really out on hard work on the background music. Pretty catchy compare to the films we have watched that I could feel the director wants to put originality and some impression to the film.

    I have watched The great train to robbery in my previous class. There are three part that I have impressed. The first one is when the two robbery ran into the train and one of them thrown away the assistant of the engineer. What shocked me was they used the doll to shoot the film, but the scene was obviously appeared as a doll, that the doll did not looked real human at all.

    1968 once upon in a time in west: black actor, unique camera work very close shooting. Focusing on each characters’ facial expression, since they have not spoken for more than five minute, which became many closed up scenes. Since all the actors has not said a word, they all look a veteran gang. The most mysterious film of the western genre.

    1969 The valley of gwangi, animation puppet: It was my first time to watch. I have never watched a dinosaur themed film. Very creative and detailed puppet doll, so it looked a real dinosaur. The movement of the puppet was near to the reality that I personally felt it was the most high-quality puppet I have seen. It is so agreeable how other film director/ maker such as the director of Jurassic Park praised the film and gets an impression from it that it reflects to their movies.

    1973 westworld: very shocking gang movie. Never thought of the existence of robot gangster. It has more thriller feelings than the usual gangster film because the way the robot moves and the eyes looked very scary. Moreover, human can control itself, but when the robot operates wrongly, it would be hard to stop, so it makes the film more thrilling. In my opinion, it was great challenge for the content to combine gangster movie and science fictions. However, this movie appears like and dislike easily. To the longtime fan of gangster movie fan, it would totally feel uncomfortable since it is too unrealistic and does not really look like a fight of a man versus man. It’s a general SF film topic, creature versus general people. Therefore, the audience of this film would be more SF fans, than the hardcore gangster film. The amazing point of the characters in the film was the eye color of the robot. Was there was a color contact at that era? The color was exactly same as the bulbar conjunctiva. Also, the scene of how robot observe other interesting that it was computer vision.

    Searching several western movies, Twelve Angry Men which released 1957 caught my eyes. The film is a remake version of the drama which released in 1954. It is not a gangster genre we have watched in class, it is a courtroom film. The story is about a delinquent 18 years old boy who is accused of murdering his father and 12 juries brought in a verdict of guilty, but only one jury claimed that the boy is an innocent. Then the battle of 11 juries and the only one jury starts. The 11 juries firmly believed that the boy was the criminal. However, the one jury man asserted to not judge the accused based on stereotypes. Due to his enthusiasm and logical assumption, the rest of the juries changed their mind.
    The movie has high evaluation that it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Also, it was selected as the second-best courtroom drama ever by the American Film Institute. Moreover, it was also included in the list of 100 Movies To See Before You Die by Yahoo.
    Twelve Angry Men Trailer


  27. When I thought about the western genre I just about deserts, ghost towns, saloons, and the classical setting of westerns. It was surprising to find that westerns could have completely different settings such as snow westerns. I believe that this would give a completely different feel to the western and it wouldn’t seem right because it doesn’t comply with the classical westerns that we are used to. It was very interesting to learn that westerns could take on other genres such as horror. Horror j my favorite genre so I think I would enjoy watching a horror western. I have seen the movie Django Unchained and because that movie has many elements different from the unconventional western including comedy, I thought that movie was quite interesting. Sometimes it is weird when movies move away from tradition and sometimes it works. In this case it worked.
    It was interesting to find that other countries tried to replicate the western genre in European genres. I guess they enjoyed westerns and wanted to implicate them in their movies. However, it was surprising to see them replicate the scenario involving Native Americans. The way that they were portrayed in traditional westerns were negative and it was shocking to see other countries take that negative aspect of American history and implicate it into their movies. But also it’s horrible on the part of traditional westerns, and I would possibly enjoy westerns a lot more if that wasn’t such a big part of it.


  28. As a newcomer to the Western genre, these films have been really interesting to me. Actually, I intend to watch a lot of Karl’s suggestions outside of class! As a kid, I remember watching The Great Escape, which my dad showed me, or MASH (the tv show—I watched the movie a few years ago though) but mostly I saw movies at a friend’s house. There I watched Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Totoro, and stuff like the Lion King. When I was sick my mom rented Scooby Doo movies for me, and I remember movie nights being a thing when I was REALLY little, but I don’t remember anything we would watch. I do remember really liking Swiss Family Robinson, which I guess we owned, probably because of all the cool tree houses and animals. But, we didn’t have cable at my house, so it was when I went to visit my grandparent’s over the summer that I would discover stuff like Little House on the Prairie—which I read all the books for, but I probably have only seen a few episodes of the show. What I’m saying is, I don’t think the Western genre was really on my radar aside from a vague awareness of it until this class. But I actually think it’s really cool!
    From the technical side, the stunts and animal handling is all really impressive and interesting. There are a hell of a lot of beautiful horses in the genre. Also, the landscapes and soundtrack are fantastic. I think I like the more wide open Americana Westerns more than I liked the Jesse James Western, but that might be due to a fascination with the desert—Jesse James was filmed in Missouri, which can be beautiful, but certainly feels a lot more southern than western. I understand that there are a lot of connections to the themes of the Western genre, which is ultimately what’s most important, but I’m really compelled by all the cowboy stuff and the desert backdrop in the other Westerns we looked at.
    I think what Karl said about the Euro westerns not really having a moral hero was really interesting. It’s true that America really treasures (at least at that time) the male role model, the Good Man, and wants to keep a moral basis for the films. American movies also tend to have happy endings, where I guess some other places are less concerned with that. I kind of like that, too—not the happy ending thing, but the Good Man, the stand-up guy who does the right thing even if he is struggling with what he’s pressured to do or would rather do. A good example of that struggle is the character Will, the detective (?) from Jesse James, who is in love with Zee, but helps her be with Jesse anyways.
    I also thought a lot about racism in Western movies. Some of the movies are pretty laughable or cringe-worthy when it comes to the portrayal of Native Americans, and the character Pinky in Jesse James honestly made me a little uncomfortable, just because of how he was played, even though it was actually a step forward that there was a black character with a speaking role. It’s hard to put aside the fact that he’s in servitude to the Jameses, though, even though they’re all friendly, and he probably was a slave before that, so the whole thing is just a little creepy. Like, only portraying black characters as serving white people. I do want to watch the movie Karl showed about the guy looking to get revenge on the people who scalped his wife because I think the black character in that movie seems well developed and appears to be a really good actor besides. Women, too, are kind of cast aside, but that’s almost ok with me, because I don’t mind watching stuff about men and cowboys weren’t really women, although the statistics and stuff Karl showed made me pretty sad. I think the movie where the lost sister decides to stay with the tribe is really interesting because it’s her making a choice and a stand, but some of the trailers Karl showed were a little lame, because the women only had roles as romantic interests that complicate the men’s lives (I’m thinking of the one with a really large cast—I think How The West Was Won?). I guess I don’t mind if women just don’t really come into the picture, but it bothers me when they’re played really weird and subservient. So I like the revisionist Westerns a lot better, just because they’re more interesting and more likely to have some good conflict and female portrayal.
    I didn’t really like the Euro Westerns, but I’m pretty excited about some of the genre-mix ones, especially the Valley of Gwangi, which is just super super cool in terms of the animation. I’m pretty into stop motion animation, I appreciate it a lot and I think it makes a very cool effect, and so seeing one of the most significant early stop-motion animations was really neat. Plus, what a dorky subject—dinosaurs and cowboys. How can you not love it?
    I also would really like to watch The Wild Bunch. The actual cinematography and the way the intro was done with the text and stuff was really cool, and the film’s gory and creepy in a neat way, too, like the opening shot with the kids all watching a ton of ants take over a scorpion. Plus the creepy guy who licks the woman’s ear was either a really fantastic actor or actually deranged, so I want to see more of that because I like characters who are kind of creepy and unstable, although watching him be sexually aggressive like that made me uncomfortable. I think it’s because that’s the ultimate way to get to a woman especially in that time period: to use her sexuality against her and remind her that she is desired regardless of whether or not she wants to be viewed that way or used that way. So the display, to me, was less about sex and more about dominating and embarrassing her, and proving to her that she’s powerless to avoid being embarrassed in front of her children like that.
    Anyways, this was a really cool section of class which I enjoyed a lot, and I’m hoping to add some Westerns to my video collection now. Thanks Karl!


  29. Western genre movie, it is also called the cowboy film, which mainly about stories of the western part of the United States, which reflects the contradictions of civilization and the wildness, the individual and the society, the united nation and the first nation culture. In some the films that we watched in class, you can see the scene of sun rise or sunset in horizon line, which kind resemble the legendary cowboy image and that horse chasing and fighting scenes of fierce fighting and so on. All these films were usually based on American literature and folklore, and combines the imagination of literary language with the illusion of film. In these films, we see most of the good white immigrants were threatened by violence, heroic cowboy and law enforcement to help with these poor people and beat the unjustified evil guys, the result is almost always the enemy to annihilate. And the cowboy is mostly form outside the town, they are courageous, and after doing good things, being hero to poor guys. They just to choose go away, often makes people feel do not know where he came from, do not know where he will go, very cool and mystery. Also, films also use a certain length to show: the cowboy encounter, the pure girl or woman love at first sight, etc., often in the conflict of violence as much as possible to show the cowboy’s demeanor.


  30. I think western American film has a very easy identified and symbolic image, plot and characteristics processing is completely modeled, stylized. Therefore, the western film is the most typical, and the most familiar movie type, it even influential in my country in the late 80’s. it is one of the most classical type of film.
    As early as the 1950s, I have read some articles about Western film, and I remember someone who I don’t remember the name, but he is saying that the western film is probably the only one genre of movie that appeared at the same time of the movie invention era, and lasted nearly half a century, because the special energy that it gives. Moreover, the style and characteristic of western film were well spread out of its geographical area, and becomes so popular, so I believe why the Western film can be so popular and last so long, it is not only because its vitality, it also contains a deeper mystery, the ‘eternal mystery’. Until the 21st century, the western film still did not die. In the past century, the western film has experienced its origins, stability and development of changes, and fully conforms to the history of the formation and development of nearly 100 years of film.


  31. When people mentioned western movie, most people would think about American cowboys…but actually, in china, we have Chinese western movies too. In the 2009 Shanghai Film Festival, there are quite a lot of Chinese western films exposed. Apart from Ning Hao’s “no man’s land”无人区, is “bullet flies”让子弹飞 by Jiang Wen. Even though American’s western movies declined with in decades, China’s western films are becoming popular and within the movies, the new variations have emerged.

    In Chinese western movie, the background also happens in the western part of china, usually in Xibei, Shanbei. the most typical representative of China’s western films is regarded by category people as different classes. The different is the most of Chinese western movies are comedy, the language they used have very strange accent. people wear poor clothes, and also involved some gun fight and horse chasing scene. Chinese western movies are based on American western movie, but there are somehow different. American western movies mainly show concur western part, they need the protagonist to be a hero. However, in china, we have longer history, and the western china has the local customs and practices, therefore, the western movie in china is more about value of life, it is a realism style. The protagonist can act by a very ugly guy, he can be very timid and afraid of causing troubles, but somehow, he has to involved in some sort of troubles.

    Western movie in china is very interesting to watch. And it becomes a boom in recent decades. It is different than western movie in American, but it has another kind of amorous feelings. I suggest people who are interested in western movie, watch some Chinese western movie, “no man’s land”无人区and “bullet flies”让子弹飞 are good ones. They made people laugh and cry.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. The western genre was an interesting topic because it is one of the most original genres in America. The traditional, euro western, and the revisionist western all had such different characteristics which described how the western genre had evolved from time to time. I personally really like the revisionist western films because it is interesting to see the cowboy being the bad instead if the manly hero like everyone would expect them to be. I feel like it adds a twist to the story itself and makes it more unpredictable. The traditional western film is good in their own way, but I would like a more realistic bad guy instead of a perfect hero as the protagonist. Sometimes when I watch really traditiona hero characters I just think that they cannot be real haha.
    It is also surprising to hear that the cowboy of the old west got influence by the American version of the Japanese samurai warrior or the Arthurian legends of medieval times. Yojimbo influenced Clint Eastwood’s A fistful of dollars and the seven samurai was remade as john sturges’ the magnificent seven. Both of these Japanese films were directed by Kurosawa. Now I know why he was such a famous filmmaker across the ocean as well.
    It is pretty sad that the genre cycle of the western is not really coming back these days. In the 1930s to the 1960s, the western was at its peak and one more time in the 90s, there was a resurgence of the genre. However, nowadays it just seems it is not getting back the popularity it has gotten before. I wonder if this is because the audience is just tired of seeing these types of film since it follows the same pattern. I also feel that people are not being able to relate to the loner cowboy saving the civilized society and eventually leaving into the wild again. Many films try to integrate different genres and mix it up together creating subgenres such as comedy western and science fiction western, but it still has not come back at its previous popularity level. The republic pictures were the most prolific western film company from 1935 to 1954 followed by monogram, Colombia, and universal. When I look at the statistics I can see that republic pictures were leading the market in a substantial number. They were releasing on average over 100 western films each year while the other companies were only releasing significantly lower than this. (10,20,30)
    The setting in the western films are always very beautiful and jaw dropping. I do not remember the film title, but there was a film we watched in class that had the house I the middle of the desert and you can see the big mountains outside. That was unbelievable. Especially when you live in a city like Tokyo, you can hardly believe such places exist. I also noticed how the towns that appear in western films were very similar to each other. Almost everything was made and built by wood, not many buildings were tall, and there was always a horse cabin somewhere. Everything looked the same color (in brown), and it is always a good weather. (looked very dry) It is very fun that by just looking at the screen for a few seconds, you can almost always tell it is a western film.
    The conflict between the cowboys and the native americans were always there along with the horses, gun shootings, and so on. I am not a fan of conflicts and battles so the western genre is not my favorite, but I do like the fast pace and the story (plot) of western films. I am always amused on the actors who ride on horses and use guns and do various stunts. I could not really tell whether it was the stunt man doing it, but there were definitely some scenes where the actual actors were doing those stunts and that surprises me. I have always had the idea of riding a horse as a really hard thing to do so I cannot help but wonder if they had to go through intense training before filming.
    When I searched western films in 2016, I was surprised to see that there was actually a great amount of western film were created. The most popular one being the magnificent seven, brimstone, and hell or high water. I guess there are still a fan base in western film looking at this number if films being released in only one year. I hope the western genre comes up with something that can attract the mass audience again and raise their popularity again. It would be interesting if it was mixed up with something like thriller. I am curious on how the genre will grow in these future years and maybe bring another boom to the industry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s