Monday, July 19, 2021

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK, 2021


Rachel at Hamlette's Soliloquy, Heidi at Along the Brandywine, and Olivia at Meanwhile, in Rivendell are our hosts for the online celebration Legends of Western Cinema Week, during July 19 - 24. The celebration of our favourite westerns will be a treat during the strangeness of 2021

 

HERE'S THE "TAG" TO START OFF THE FUN!


1. Western movies or western TV shows?


I grew up in an era of western TV shows, both first-run and in syndication. I freely admit to a deep nostalgic association for the programs, the stars, guest stars, and the storytelling. 

2. Funny westerns or dramatic westerns?


I love a giggle and a good western spoof (Support Your Local Sheriff!, Way Out West), however, it is the more dramatic fare I go to most often when choosing which western to watch.

3. Westerns that focus on loners or westerns that focus on families?


H'm. It seems that while I love the dramatic possibilities in a family dynamic I tend to lean toward the loner.

4. Male-centric westerns or female-centric westerns?


Marie Windsor in Hellfire, 1949

I like the fellas, I really do. Nonetheless, since my first viewing/reading of True Grit back in 1969 I look for the female-centric westerns for validation. I enjoy slipping into the worlds of Westward the Women, The Guns of Fort Petticoat, The Secret of Convict Lake, and watching Barbara Stanwyck and Maureen O'Hara and other strong women ruling the range.


5. 1930s to 1960s westerns or 1970s to 2020s westerns?


Henry Fonda and Cathy Downs in My Darling Clementine, 1946

I'm a 1930s to 1960s gal. Let's say from Hell's Heroes to Ride the High Country and everything in between, prestige pictures or formulaic B fun for the Saturday matinee crowd.


6. Westerns that take place in America or westerns that take place internationally?


Westerns that take place in America are my preference (I would definitely accept western Canada) as they have the feel of organic, authentic storytelling to me.


7. Family-friendly westerns or edgier westerns?


I enjoy a similar comfort in both the family-friendly fare and the edgier films. I'm not sure what that says about my psyche but I'm going with the tough guys and gals on this one.


8. Straight-forward good guy or conflicted hero?

James Stewart in Winchester '73, 1950

While I still admire the straight-forward heroes I grew up with, it is those conflicted fellows who hold a lot of allure for me these days.


9. Historically accurate westerns or westerns that aren't afraid to take some creative liberties?


I am fascinated by the way filmmakers throughout the decades have taken liberties with the western genre to highlight or re-examine history as well as the times in which they were creating their films. The McCarthy era gave rise to High Noon and Silver Lode. The feminist movement presented opportunities to take the focus off of the men, in films like Cat Ballou and Johnny Guitar.


10. Bittersweet or happily-ever-after endings?









20 comments:

  1. Great post Paddy, there's more than a few for me to check out as a Westerns novice.. where should I start?

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    1. Thank you so much. The movies with the ladies would be a great place to start. Plus, none of them go on too long. They are terrific and memorable stories.

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  2. You saved your best answer for last! I love that end so much. With you all the way on these...

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    1. A picture is worth a thousand words.

      Hello, Lee. How have you been?

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  3. Are there Canadian westerns?

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    1. After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, The Calgary Stampede (rodeo/fair) is back on with last year being the first break since 1912.

      Television programs (past and present) include Bordertown, Strange Empire, When Calls the Heart, Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy. Movies to look for are The Grey Fox, Alien Thunder, and The Legend of Kootenai Brown. Hollywood filmed or set westerns in Canada through the years: Cariboo Trail, Flaming Frontier, Savage Land, Saskatchewan, and The Far Country among them.

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  4. Paddy Lee, I hope you are doing well. You have selected some really good choices, which I go along with very easily. There are so many Great/Good Western Movies and TV Shows of all kinds to select from. So many to view, so little time. I remember, fondly, of the years when we could view a Western every night on television, which for me was the 1960's and because of tv syndication throughout the 1970's during afternoons and on weekends. Also, because we live in a "Golden Age" of viewing today, through DVD and Blu-ray, we can still view these fine morality tales everyday, if we choose.

    I'm enjoying the photo that you chose of the very talented wonderful lustrous Marie Windsor. I think Marie was born to be in Westerns and she was great in HELLFIRE(filmed 1948, released 1949).

    Look forward to your next write-up and it is wonderful to have you back.

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    1. Walter, thank you for the kind words. Over the years, I have learned that the two of us could spend a lot of time watching our favourite programs and movies with nary a cross word atwixt us (as Festus might say).

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    2. Paddy Lee, I believe your probably right. What a character Festus Haggen(Ken Curtis) was. Ken Curtis skillfully developed a most memorable low-keyed dynamic character. In 1968, as a youngster, I got to see and meet Ken Curtis. It was at the Arkansas State Fair Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. Curtis was the Headliner performer. At the end of his performance he mounted a horse and rode around the rodeo arena. The kids would gather around the arena and Curtis, on horseback, would reach down and touch the top of one of their hands and say something. When he touched the top of my right hand he said, using his Festus voice, "How ya doin' pard?"

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    3. Thanks for sharing that story, Walter. I adore Ken Curtis and especially his work as Festus. I'll have an extra smile the next time I see him on screen (or listen to a record).

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  5. Found some new ones to me, thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Enjoy. The great thing about bloggers (and blogathons) is discovering stuff that is "new-to-me." My own never-ending must-see list grows by leaps and bounds.

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  6. A good introduction to westerns, in my opinion, because you've touched on all my favourites. I never thought I was much of a western fan, but I've seen just about every one you've listed.
    *pats self on back*

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    1. Ah, there are many things we don't consider ourselves but I rather guessed there was a western fan inside you. You appreciate a good movie and there are too many good ones in the genre.

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  7. On the subject of Barbara Stanwyck westerns, have you seen Sam Fuller's FORTY GUNS? Now that's one strange western!

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    1. Forty Guns is mind boggling! Stanwyck's character in the Fuller movie bears the same name (Jessica Drummond) as one of her more gentle characters, a widow in My Reputation. That would make one heck of a contrasting double bill!

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  8. I so wish that Secret at Convict Lake was out on DVD. I've watched it twice on YouTube now, but I want to own it, not rely on the kindness of strangers to keep it accessible. Sigh.

    That final shot from Shane gave me a lump in my throat <3

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    1. Indeed, the day I can look on my movie shelf and see The Secret of Convict Lake will be a very good day.

      George Stevens knew that one picture is worth a thousand words when it came to his classic Shane.

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  9. I forgot about True Grit! That was one that made me really get into westerns. I'll definitely be checking out those others you listed for question 4! I've been wanting to see Winchester '73. One of these days!

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    1. Maddie Ross in True Grit was an inspiration!

      A note about Winchester '73, the black and white cinematography by William Daniels is exquisite. I was so caught up in the story and performances that it took me some time before the camerawork took my breath away. Everything works in that movie.

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