phillyfilmbuff

A course on the great Westerns?

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Canvas runs a pretty good Westerns course from time to time.  It's taught by Sue Matheson of University College of the North (not affiliated with TCM).  I took it about a year and a half ago but I believe they ran it again this past spring.

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From The Great Train Robbery (1903) thru, at least, McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971).  Could be a compelling course.  And although I also like the suggestion for a course on Classic Horror films, a course on Westerns would probably attract more participants.  Right up TCM's alley, too.  I'd certainly sign up for it.

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The previous, non TCM, Canvas Westerns course had many technical issues and problems that made it unpleasant to try to get through the course.  I quit about half way through and hope that Ball State, Prof. Edwards, and TCM will work up a good Westerns course for us to enjoy.

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5 hours ago, GeezerNoir said:

From The Great Train Robbery (1903) thru, at least, McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971).  Could be a compelling course.  And although I also like the suggestion for a course on Classic Horror films, a course on Westerns would probably attract more participants.  Right up TCM's alley, too.  I'd certainly sign up for it.

Me too.  But we'd have to go up to 1990, at least, to include Dances With Wolves.   Decades of so many great films and great stars.  I am usually not too interested in films made after 1950 but Westerns are an exception.  I think they only got better.  I'm thinking Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat Ballou, Little Big Man.  Wonderful films. 

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11 hours ago, Charlie's Girl said:

Me too.  But we'd have to go up to 1990, at least, to include Dances With Wolves.   Decades of so many great films and great stars.  I am usually not too interested in films made after 1950 but Westerns are an exception.  I think they only got better.  I'm thinking Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat Ballou, Little Big Man.  Wonderful films. 

Yeah, I absolutely hear what you're saying.  And I would add to your list The Missouri Breaks (1976) and Unforgiven (1992).  In order to go that far forward, though, the course would need to be at least five weeks in length and it would have to be the "History of the Hollywood Western in the Sound Era".  Leaving all of the silent Westerns in the proverbial dust.  Which would be OK with me, because I definitely agree that some of the very best Westerns ever made were made after 1970.

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My husband is a philosopher. For several years he taught an honors seminar using classic westerns-- usually the transition westerns-- to teach virtue ethics (the Aristotelian virtues) among other philosophical topics. It was freaking awesome. 

If anyone is interested, one of books he uses as a text (not really a text) is Cowboy Metaphysics: Ethics and Death in Westerns by Peter French. (My husband is not Peter French!) Before reading it, I had never considered that Westerns were anything more than just stories. It's a bit pricey, but for anyone who loves Westerns, it's worth it. 

So yes. I would love a TCM sponsored course on Westerns if for no other reason that to talk about what's in Halley's hat box in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. 

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On 6/30/2018 at 2:30 AM, nohojim said:

Canvas runs a pretty good Westerns course from time to time.  It's taught by Sue Matheson of University College of the North (not affiliated with TCM).  I took it about a year and a half ago but I believe they ran it again this past spring.

 

22 hours ago, JohnT3 said:

The previous, non TCM, Canvas Westerns course had many technical issues and problems that made it unpleasant to try to get through the course.  I quit about half way through and hope that Ball State, Prof. Edwards, and TCM will work up a good Westerns course for us to enjoy.

         I also took the course taught by Sue Matheson: "Made in America: Exploring the Hollywood Western." It was offered on Canvas in the Fall of 2016. When the "Slapstick!" course ended, I found it and signed up. It was a relatively narrow study of westerns from the "golden age." As I recall, we focused on eight westerns, starting with "Stagecoach" (1939) and ending with "High Noon" (1952). The course was good, though the scope of it left much on the table. There were some technical problems that were a mild irritation, but I stuck with it. A more general and comprehensive history of the western genre is needed. I believe that Canvas/Ball State could do a great survey course on the history of westerns and tie it in with a month of TCM programming. 

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How do you find other movie-related courses on Canvas.  This has been my first Canvas class.  I'm a couple days behind but when I finish up tomorrow I'm going to be so sad!!!  I want another one!

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57 minutes ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

I agree. I would love to teach a class about westerns; one of my favorite genres.

Seems to me a course devoted to westerns would either have be more compressed due to their lengthy historical time line or warrant at least another week for the course. But it'd sure be interesting. 

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1 hour ago, lmzeigler said:

How do you find other movie-related courses on Canvas.  This has been my first Canvas class.  I'm a couple days behind but when I finish up tomorrow I'm going to be so sad!!!  I want another one!

You won't have much success finding another class on Canvas right now; however opportunities to learn more about film history and film making abound on the internet.  For example:

Here is a link to the MIT Open Courseware class "The Film Experience"

https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/literature/21l-011-the-film-experience-fall-2013/index.htm

You can listen to all the lectures, view the class reading list, etc.  This is a really good one!

Here is a link to Rocket Jump Film School

https://school.rocketjump.com/

Way Cool!

Here is a link to Filmmaker IQ

https://filmmakeriq.com/

There is a ton of stuff to be learned here; and you can actually take tests to prove that you HAVE learned something and begin to build yourself a bit of a resume.

And, if you are an Amazon Prime member, there is another ton of stuff waiting for you there.  You might want to start with Martin Scorsese's "History of American Cinema"

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B36Q51Z/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

And that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

I agree. I would love to teach a class about westerns; one of my favorite genres.

Well, heck.  If you'd be willing to be lead instructor on this project, then why not run it by Dr. Edwards and let him take it to TCM.  At least I assume that Dr. Edwards is the person at Ball State who is the primary liaison with TCM.  I apologize if I am incorrect about that.  I should think that this would have to be maybe a six week course.  And that assumes that you would limit the course to the sound era, starting probably with In Old Arizona (1928) but then running all the way thru Unforgiven (1992).  And taking a little time to cover the "Singing Cowboy" and "Western Spoof" sub-genres.  Does that sound reasonable, or am I way off on that?  Anyway, that stuff is beyond my pay grade and why you guys get the big bucks.  I, for one, am quite excited about the prospect of this thing becoming a reality.  Thanks!

Oh! And then there's the "Singing Cowboy Spoof" sub-sub-genre.  Represented by Rustler's Rhapsody (1985)

Edited by GeezerNoir
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5 hours ago, lmzeigler said:

How do you find other movie-related courses on Canvas.  This has been my first Canvas class.  I'm a couple days behind but when I finish up tomorrow I'm going to be so sad!!!  I want another one!

After "Slapstick" ended, I felt the same way. I found it by going onto the Canvas site and clicking "Courses.' This gave me a list of all the courses Canvas was offering. I scrolled down and found "Made in America: Exploring the Hollywood Western." And the rest, as they say, is history.

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On 7/1/2018 at 1:52 PM, Marica said:

If anyone is interested, one of books he uses as a text (not really a text) is Cowboy Metaphysics: Ethics and Death in Westerns by Peter French. (My husband is not Peter French!) Before reading it, I had never considered that Westerns were anything more than just stories. It's a bit pricey, but for anyone who loves Westerns, it's worth it. 

Thank you so much for this resource! I just looked it up and it looks AWESOME!

I would really love a Westerns course too! PLEASE make sure to include McCabe & Mrs. Miller! :0 )

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On 7/3/2018 at 11:13 AM, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

I agree. I would love to teach a class about westerns; one of my favorite genres.

Given cultural focus is your forte, I would think movies with the theme of developing the west might be a good focus? Movies like Jeremiah Johnson?

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