Westerns!

Another class schedule, this time for our genre class.  Read along!

FILM GENRES: WESTERNS; 

TMA 492, Winter, 2013

Class Objective: to survey the history of the Western film, as well as to touch upon the history of the West that Western films so feelingly and complicatedly portray; to trace the historical evolution of the genre, and also a number of its many theoretical elaborations; to become Western-literate—we will screen twenty-eight feature films, including both celebrated milestones and a number of less well-known treasures—able both to read and express the concept and landscape and realities of the West.

To this end we will read a number of seminal essays that explore and illuminate Western-related issues: culture and nature, the raw and the cooked, individuality and the collective, cultivation and the free range, poetry and positivism, liberty and duty.  Writing assignments will address and elaborate upon these same ideas.  By the end we not only intend to have become super-familiar with Western films, but also to have become more conscious, careful and contributing Westerners, whether by adoption, or born in the covenant.

Class schedule:

Week 1   INTRODUCTION/THE FRONTIER CLOSES AND THE CURTAIN RISES

Screen: The Tourists (1912), Wild and Wooly (1916); The Mark of Zorro (1920), Mantrap (1926)

Listen:    “I’m an Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande),” Bing Crosby (1936)

Read:    Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”

Painful loss:    3 Bad Men (1926), The Wind (1928)

Week 2    PAGEANTRY AND CONSCIENCE

Screen:    Native Americans in Newsreels (1921-1938), Horse’s Collars (1935); Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Listen:    “Back in the Saddle Again,” Gene Autry (1939)

Read:    Trollope, “The Aboriginals,” Lodge, “Colonialism in the United States”

Painful loss:    The Return of Frank James (1940)

Week 3—CLASSICISM AND GENRE VARIATION

Screen:    My Darling Clementine (1946), The Harvey Girls (1946)

Listen:    “Don’t Fence Me In,” Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters (1944)

Read:    Coleridge, “On Poesy or Art,” Morris, “The Lesser Arts”

Painful loss:    Yellow Sky (1948)

Week 4    COMMERCE AND CRAFTSMANSHIP

Screen    Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948); Stars in My Crown (1950), The Gunfighter (1950)

Listen:    “Cool Water,” Vaughn Monroe and the Sons of the Pioneers (1948)

Read:    Mill, introduction to On Liberty

Painful loss:    Pursued (1948), The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)

Week 5    MIRRORS: CELEBRATION AND CRITIQUE

Screen:    Drip-Along Daffy (1951); She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Silver Lode (1954)

Listen:    The Ballad of High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me Oh, My Darlin’),” Tex Ritter, 1952

Read:     Fielding, “The Poor and their Betters,” Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”

Painful loss:    Wagonmaster (1950), Son of Paleface (1952), Track of the Cat (1954)

Week 6—MYTH AND LANDSCAPE (ANTHONY MANN)

Screen:    Corral (1954); The Far Country (1954), Man of the West (1958)

Listen:    “Happy Trails,” Roy Rogers (1952)

Read:    Emerson, “Beauty”

Painful loss:    Red River (1948), The Big Sky (1952), the entire Mann/Stewart cycle

Week 7    APEX I: BY SMALL MEANS… (BUD BOETTICHER)

Screen    The Searchers (1956), Comanche Station (1960)

Listen:    “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,” “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” “I’m an Indian Too,” “Anything You Can Do,” from Annie Get Your Gun, by Irving Berlin (1950)

Read:    Hume, “Of the Dignity and Meanness of Human Nature”

Painful loss:    The rest of the Ranown cycle

Week 8—INDIVIDUALITY AND EXCESS

Screen    Forty Guns (1957), Johnny Guitar (1954)

Listen:    “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” Johnny Cash (1958)

Read:    Shklovski, “Art as Technique”

Painful loss:    River of No Return (1954)

Week 9    APEX II: TRAGEDY AND TRANSFIGURATION

Screen    The Tall T (1956), Rio Bravo (1959)

Listen:    “El Paso,” Marty Robbins (1959)

Read:    Macaulay, “Minute on Indian Education,” Emerson, “Friendship”

Painful Loss:    Yojimbo (1961)

Week 10    SEA CHANGE: THE NEW WESTERN

Screen    Ride the High Country (1962), Hud (1963)

Listen:    “Nothing Was Delivered,” “Old Blue,” The Byrds (1968/1969)

Read:    Roosevelt, “Dante and the Bowery”

Painful loss:    One-Eyed Jacks (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Week 11    REVISION AND RETRENCHMENT I

Screen    The Professionals (1966), Will Penny (1968)

Listen:    “John Wesley Harding,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “The Weight,” Bob Dylan/Ennio Morricone/The Band (1967/1968)

Read:    Reynolds, “The Idea of Beauty,” Miller, “The Tragedy of the Common Man”

Painful loss:    Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Little Big Man (1970)

Week 12    REVISION AND RETRENCHMENT II

Screen:    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Heartland (1979)

Listen:    “Man in Black,” “In My Hour of Darkness,” Johnny Cash/Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (1971/1973)

Read:    Stevenson, “Truth and Intercourse,” Rousseau, “Discourse on the Arts and the Sciences”

Painful loss:    The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Week 13    WINDING DOWN/GEARING UP

Screen:    The Shootist (1976), Wild Life (2011); My Brilliant Career (1979), The Grey Fox (1982)

Listen:    “Hotel California,” “Four Strong Winds,” The Eagles/Neil Young (1976/1977)

Read:    Swift, “A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding,” Cicero, “On Old Age”

Painful loss:    The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1979)

Week 14    POST/MODERNITY; ALL AT ONCE

Screen:    Unforgiven (1992), Open Range (2003)

Listen:    “Eldorado,” “I Saw the Light,” “Your Long Journey,” Neil Young/Hank Williams/ Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (1989/1948/2007)

Read:    Stevenson, “Called South”

Painful loss:    Dead Man (1995)

 

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