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What is a western, is not a western..?


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28 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

While western comedies and western musicals (RED GARTERS is another one) have elements of the old west, I don't consider them to be pure specimens. The problem for me is that the comedy (the laughs) and the music (the singing and dancing) takes priority over the western themes which are just there to hold the thing together and provide some basic plot structure with archetypical characters. 

 

I would say you're on shaky ground by insisting it has to be about purely Western themes, because historical fiction of any sort has been used repeatedly to deal with contemporary issues.   High Noon was supposed to be a comment on McCarthyism. so by that definition, is it really a western?

Ironically, sci fi Westerns like The Wild Wild West would then count as pure westerns, because stories about fantastic inventions in a western setting were around even in the days of the Old West.   See the Frank Reade stories I mentioned in another thread, and Edward Ellis's 1868 dime novel The Steam Man of the Prairies

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31 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

So you are not counting the Republic John Wayne - Sons of the Pioneers films, just straight forward Westerns?

Do you mean the Three Mesquiteers films?

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5 minutes ago, rjbartrop said:

 

I would say you're on shaky ground by insisting it has to be about purely Western themes, because historical fiction of any sort has been used repeatedly to deal with contemporary issues.   High Noon was supposed to be a comment on McCarthyism. so by that definition, is it really a western?

Ironically, sci fi Westerns like The Wild Wild West would then count as pure westerns, because stories about fantastic inventions in a western setting were around even in the days of the Old West.   See the Frank Reade stories I mentioned in another thread, and Edward Ellis's 1868 dime novel The Steam Man of the Prairies

I don't like being told I am on shaky ground. What I am striving for are specimens of pure American westerns. I think comedy and music if added in too much dilutes the western. 

You regard it as my insisting something, but all I am doing is trying to define what's pure. Like an assayer examining some specimens that a miner has brought to him to see what their value might be.

I think you are veering off in a strange direction by trying to discuss how westerns can be allegories for contemporary issues. All genres may be used in that way. But the western in its purest form is espousing American ways of life and instilling of justice.

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20 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Do you mean the Three Mesquiteers films?

If those are the ones that look kinda like Westerns but have the ten gallon hats, smiley pocket shirts, have horseback action, but then at some point an automobile shows up and it ends with the Sons of The Pioneers singing? Basically same scenario with Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers films.  

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I don't like being told I am on shaky ground. What I am striving for are specimens of pure American westerns. I think comedy and music if added in too much dilutes the western. 

 

Fair enough.  Overly restrictive, then.

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

If those are the ones that look kinda like Westerns but have the ten gallon hats, smiley pocket shirts, have horseback action, but then at some point an automobile shows up and it ends with the Sons of The Pioneers singing? Basically same scenario with Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers films.  

Well for my criteria I said I was considering features 70 minutes or longer. I believe all the Three Mesquiteers movies are around 60 minutes.

If you'll notice I did put some Gene Autry westerns on the list because occasionally Republic or Columbia gave him a decent budget (usually in the post-war years) and he did make some longer more complex westerns.

1 hour ago, rjbartrop said:

Fair enough.  Overly restrictive, then.

Thanks. As you probably know, some people wrangle over the definition of noir. There are noir purists and I guess I am a western purist! :) 

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

Thanks. As you probably know, some people wrangle over the definition of noir. There are noir purists and I guess I am a western purist! :) 

I know what you mean.

I'd go with breaking them down into Serious Westerns and Semi- Serious and then the rest into their various slots. There are some Westerns that are pretty serious up to when they have the saloon gal sing and then it's like a professional recording session, lol. I'd have to weed them out from my list. 

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1 minute ago, cigarjoe said:

I know what you mean.

I'd go with breaking them down into Serious Westerns and Semi- Serious and then the rest into their various slots. There are some Westerns that are pretty serious up to when they have the saloon gal sing and then it's like a professional recording session, lol. I'd have to weed them out from my list. 

I think I indicated earlier in the thread that westerns vary by studio and budget. Each production team had its own formula. Some were better than others, obviously.

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Would be nice to see a month long salute to classic Hollywood Westerns but this genre unfortunately wont make the cut as an upcoming theme on TCM's monthly review.  As they are invested in regurgitating commentary centered upon race in films!

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1 hour ago, reneex said:

Would be nice to see a month long salute to classic Hollywood Westerns but this genre unfortunately wont make the cut as an upcoming theme on TCM's monthly review.  As they are invested in regurgitating commentary centered upon race in films!

Well they could squeeze in Duel at Diablo (1966), Bandolero! (1968), El Condor (1970), Skin Game (1971),  Buck and the Preacher (1972), The Legend of N****r Charley (1972), Charley-One-Eye (1973), Keoma (1976). 

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