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April 2003, Week 3


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"Peter C. Rollins" <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Apr 2003 11:35:18 EDT
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Table of Contents (with abstracts) for next issue:  33.1 (2003).  The 
American West(s), Part 1

Note:  The forthcoming issue of Film  & History will be the first of two 
issues devoted to the American West in Film.  These papers are juried 
submissions culled from the fall, 2002 meeting of the Film and History League 
in Kansas City, Gateway to the West.

Questions about Film & History?  Check the web site
    Subscription forms are on the site and PAYPAL enthusiasts can subscribe

Other questions to Editor-in-Chief, Peter C. Rollins  [log in to unmask]

Genial Introduction by Peter C. Rollins

Introduction to the Issue by Deborah Carmichael

"_Cimarron_: The New Western History in 1931"
J. E. Smyth, Yale University

Although honored upon its release as a landmark of American historical 
cinema, _Cimarron_ (RKO, 1931) was dismissed by ensuing scholarship as a 
classical Hollywood frontier myth. A closer examination of the film's 
production history reveals both its complex historical structure and active 
engagement with contemporary Western historiography and criticism. The result 
of this analysis calls for a fundamental revision of much scholarly writing 
on classical Hollywood cinema, one which recognizes certain films' nuanced 
and deliberately constructed historiographic vision.

"The 'Ache for Home' in Anthony Mann's _Devil's Doorway_ (1950)" 
Joanna Hearne, University of Arizona-Tucson

_Devil's Doorway_ functions as a drama of re-integration and disintegration, 
in which a Native American Civil War veteran disrupts the balance of power in 
his home community.  The film combines Western, film noir and "social 
problem" genres to narrate the destabilization of post-war civic identities 
and to condemn the U.S. reservation and treaty system.  The conflicts faced 
by the cinematic Shoshones resonate with those of Native Americans after 
World War II, and tap the assimilationist stance of federal Indian policy in 
the Termination era.   

"Rewriting  _High Noon_: Transformations of American Popular Culture During 
the Cold War."  Matthew J. Costello, Saint Xavier University

This paper explores how western films reveal the changing American popular 
political culture of the Cold War.  Long seen as Cold War commentaries, 
westerns were the most popular film genre of the 1950s.  _High Noon_ (1952) 
spawned a sub-genre of western commonly called the law-and-order film. 
Focusing on the role of women, youth, commerce, and the individual in the 
American community, this paper analyzes three of these films, _The Tin Star 
_(1957), _Warlock _(1959), and _Firecreek (1968)_ , to reveal a trajectory of 
growing unease with the consensus of the "vital center" so lauded in 1950s 

"Dead Men Walking: Consumption and Agency in the Western"
Loren Quiring, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

"Dead Men Walking" explains how Western male icons in films during the late 
Sixties and early Seventies embodied contemporary feminist critiques of 
consumerism, masculinity, and agency and yet simultaneously offered viewers a 
fantasy of male power free of the consumerist culture that--in works such as 
_Once Upon a Time in the West_, _Little Big Man_, and _Westworld_--erases the 
very identity of the masculine "agent" engendered to serve that culture.
"American Identity In Westerns Since the Reagan Administration."
Alexandra Keller, Smith College

Through an examination of _Dances with Wolves_, _Walker_, and _Tombstone_, 
this essay charts the range of historical and historiographic stances taken 
by Westerns since their resurgence in the 1990s (after a near-total 
disappearance during the Reagan-Bush years).  These stances range from 
conservative in liberal guise (Dances) to radical left (Walker), to a 
seemingly apolitical interest in simple (if accurate) entertainment 
(Tombstone).  Under postmodern conditions, none of these categories is what 
it used to be.


BOOK REVIEWS Robert J. Fyne, Ed.  Kean University of New Jersey

FILM REVIEWS.  Robert Sickels, Ed.  Whitman College, Walla Walla Washington

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