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Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
Western genre
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Western genre


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  • 1. Genres: The Western
  • 2. What is Genre?
    A category of artistic composition, as in music, film, or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter – New Oxford American Dictionary
    Organized categories of texts
    Exist in academic, popular and industry discourse
    Put into categories by:
    Subject matter
  • 3. Functions of Genres
    Leads the audience to interpret texts in particular ways
    Lets viewers know what to expect
    Gives creators ideas about how to put pieces together
    Industry strategy of appealing to specific audiences
  • 4. Examples of genre
    Science Fiction
    Sub genres:
  • The Western Genre
    Western Genre Conventions
    Historical Basis
    Plot Elements/Themes
  • 13. Historical basis
    The Western is an American genre, which interprets and represents its history to itself
    Set approximately between 1860 – 1910
    Period of American western expansion
    Popular characters based on actual individuals: Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok
  • 14. The Western’s Plot elements/themes
    Central Theme: The Binary of Civilization and Savagery/Lawlessness
    East vs. West
    Culture vs. Nature
    Community vs. Individual
    Settlersvs. “Indians”
    Train vs. Horse
    Westerns as American mythology
    Foundational myth – the forging of a nation
  • 15. Western plot elements/themes
    Patterns of action
    The nomadic Westerner comes to a town, purges it of its savage elements, and leaves
    A group of gunmen are hired to defend villagers from bandits
    Revenge Plots
    Narrative Tropes
    The climacticgunfight
    Indian attacks
    The cavalry rescue
  • 16. The traditional Western Hero
    In between position: mediates between civilization and the lawless frontier
    Marginalized figure outside of the community
    Commonly motivated by revenge and/or sense of justice
    Adheres to a code
  • 17. Western Iconography: mise-en-scene
    An actual place: the American West
    The landscape: deserts, mountains, rivers, Monument Valley
    Symbolic:wilderness as a site of savagery
    The frontier: the border of civilization and lawlessness
  • 18. Western Iconography: Mise-en-scene
  • 19. Western iconography/mise-en-scene
  • 20. Western iconography/Mise-en-scene
  • 21. Genre cycles
    Genres are neither static nor fixed; they undergo change over time with each new film either adding to the tradition or modifying it.
    Western a popular genre of
    B movie fare since 1903
    Classical Phase:
    Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)
    Elevates the Western to A status
    Solidifies conventional tropes
  • 22. Genre cycles
    Post-war Phase
    High Noon (Frank Zinnemann, 1952)
    Plot takes place in “real time”
    Denies the usual generic pleasures
    Kane as an individual with a code
    Film editing/framing emphasizes
    the isolation of the hero
  • 23. Genre Cycles
    Widescreen Westerns
    The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
    Emphasizes the widescreen landscape
    More complex protagonist
    The salient techniques of
    style: cinematography
  • 24. Genre cycles
    The Revisionist Western
    The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
  • 25. Genre cycles
    ‘Spaghetti’ Westerns
    A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964)
    For A Few Dollars More (Leone, 1965)
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Leone, 1966)
  • 26. Genre Mixing
    Yojimbo(Akira Kurosawa, 1961)
    Influenced by the films
    of John Ford
    Loosely based on Dashiell
    Hammet’sRed Harvest (1929)
    Basis for A Fistful of Dollars &
    Last Man Standing (Walter Hill, 1996)
  • 27. Genre mixing: Science Fiction & the Western
    Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
    Influenced by the films of John Ford and Akira Kurosawa: The Searchers & The Hidden Fortress
    Westworld(Michael Crichton, 1973)
    Outland (Peter Hyams, 1981)
    Based on High Noon
    Star Trek(1966-1969)
    “Wagon train to the stars”
    Firefly (Whedon, 2002)
  • 28. Genre mixing
    Post-apocalyptic Western
    Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981)
  • 29. Genre mixing
    Science Fiction/Horror
    Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
    Science Fiction/Film Noir
    Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)
    Science Fiction/War
    Starship Troopers
    (Paul Verhoeven, 1997)