Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, & History

By Fyne, Robert | Film & History, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, & History


Fyne, Robert, Film & History


Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor, editors. Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, & History. University Press of Kentucky, 2005. 373 pages; $40.00.

Winner: Ray and Pat Browne Award for an Edited Work.

Real Men

As an ongoing Hollywood genre, probably no group of photodramas can generate such unbridled enthusiasm and provide innumerable vicarious thrills than a good shoot-'em-from-the-hip, get-out-of-town-before-sundown cowboy motion picture, those rip-roaring Westerns where real men wear spurs, fasten their Colt-45's low on their femurs, and keep their backs to the sun. Here-in the untamed world of picturesque valleys, high plateaus, or desert cacti-these fast-on-their-feet heroes leap on stallions, fend off range rustlers, protect hapless widows from unscrupulous land speculators, and rescue orphaned children from the clutches of savage Apache marauders.

Why wouldn't they? As the motion pictures' national hero, the American cowboy's credo-beginning with a 1903 twelve-minute silent performance, The Great Train Robbery-always incorporated fair play, quick thinking, six-gun agility, and soft-spoken piety. As national frontiersmen, these high-spirited equestrians preserved the law and, in their own nonpolitical way, explained to audiences what Manifest Destiny really meant. While this doctrine of Western expansion originated in the 1840s, most moviegoers never understood its implementation until Richard Dix, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, or Tex Ritter sternly looked into the camera, quietly coughed, and demurely explicated the need for an extended border that stretched from ocean to ocean.

But, why was this? What role did Hollywood screenplays assume in explaining nineteenth-century expansion to a twentieth-century audience? How about a contemporary understanding of Western development? How much is learned from the silver screen? And, what about parallels, allegories, or analogies? Are they found-directly or subliminally-in these photoplays? Clearly, this is a complicated subject and, once more, two established film historians, Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor, have corroborated to produce another eclectic anthology that analyzes every facet of the American frontier portrayed in the print and visual media.

Without question, Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, & History contains a wealth of research examining many intricacies about this national expansion movement and, later, its perception on the screen and television, plus its contents in books and magazines. Beginning with a thorough analysis of Frederick Jackson Turner's 1893 bellwether safety-valve theory-that defined the Western frontier's intrinsic value-this thirteen-chapter collection, arranged in chronological order, contains some outstanding information about cinema, its natural offspring, television, and the many creative and nonfictional titles that have fashioned, for better of worse, America's image of this bygone era. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, & History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.