The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western

Synopsis

The author compares the recorded fantasies about the American West with the actual historical events. In the first part, he investigates the narrative structure of westerns. In Part 2, he studies authorship and characteristics in the directorial efforts of giants such as John Ford, Howard Hawks, Anthony Mann, and Sam Peckinpah. Third, Tuska examines the process of legendry used in connection with historical personalities such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and General Custer. Finally, the author investigates Hollywood's misrepresentation of both women and Native Americans in western films. He debunks the theory that western films reflect what the American public purportedly was thinking at the time a particular movie was made. Rather, he asserts that westerns are palliatives that present the ideals of behavior and reality that writers and directors wish viewers to accept. Tuska's epilogue suggests considerable anger at the 'deliberate' misleading of realities. The 40 photographs (from 1879 to the late 1890s) vividly point out the difference between the real 'heroes' and screen reality in films from 1925-1970. Public and academic libraries, upper-division undergraduate level and above. Choice

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1985