January 26, Part 1western photo collage

February 2, Part 1 Reprise

February 9, Part 2

McCall Public Library

6:30-8:30 pm

A Cabin Fever Series, registration here.

High school students are FREE and especially invited.

The tradition of the Western in literature and film continues to fascinate us~ consider the excellence of recent television shows such as Longmire.

In the early days of Western film, the role of the hero is clear.  Right is John Wayne looking competent in a saddle. Wrong is the dark, sullen guy who isn’t nice to anyone, especially women.

john-ford-pointThe Western became humorous and a little stale in the latter part of the 20th century, until 1992’s Unforgiven.  What shift in culture or consciousness created this film and prompted the renewal of a genre?

The genre, hero, villain, and how we understand justice have all evolved.  Consider the shifting in morality and likeability in 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma. Consider how the sheriff in No Country for Old Men relinquishes his role as the hero.

What about justice?  Who decides what is just and by what criteria?  Who gets to dispense it in the absence of authority?  What if the authority or the hero figure is morally compromised?

Course Outline

All films are available at Sunset Video.  Online streaming is available at Google Play.

Please view at least one of the following films before the first class:

1952 High Noon  Also available on Netflix streaming.Good_trio

1956 The Searchers

1966 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

January 26 and February 2

Basic film vocabulary~ Three-act structure, camera shots and angles, Western tropes.

Review early days of the Western, view film clips through the 1960s.

Please watch Unforgiven,   3:10 to Yuma. or No Country for Old Men  for class on February 9.  No Country for Old Men also available at the McCall Library.

10-favorite-westerns-of-all-time-9February 9

Look at films 1970-2016, experimentation in cross-genres and influences on cinema, TV, and culture. Discuss Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma, and No Country for Old Men and how our understanding of the hero, villain, and justice has evolved.


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