Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: The Western

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: The Western

Article excerpt

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: The Western Edited by Phil Hardy Overlook Press, 416 pps., cloth, $50

This plush new edition of The Western, which is similar in format to the Science Fiction book, covers about 1,800 of the Westerns made from 1929 to 1990 - in other words, almost half of all the horse operas made in the 60-plus years since the first Western "talkie." The notes are intelligently written, reflecting none of the anti-Western bias common to many contemporary critics, and the same attention is accorded to the Saturday shoot-'em-ups as to the John Ford spectaculars. Included besides traditional features are comedies, serials, musicals, all-black films, European Westerns and others. Comments on cinematography and other production values are often included, notwithstanding the necessary brevity. For once, fine performances by beloved heavies such as Harry Woods, Allen Sears, Roy Barcroft and Dick Alexander are acknowledged.

Some errors in the old edition have been corrected, but there's still a gaffe now and then, such as a reference to Tom Mix's The Miracle Rider as a "Buck Jones serial," the identification of Charles Starrett in a photo as one "Bruce Lane," and terming Nana Bryant a male villain in Eyes of Texas. …

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