Print

Print


0R: net33: @69 [00:00 06/08/94]
0R: net33: @69 (via @6969) [11:18 06/07/94]
Department of English, University of Louisville
Phone: (502)852-6770 or (502)852-6801. Fax: (502)852-4182.
I, for one, would not be inclined to suggest that STAGECOACH, THE SEARCHERS,
and THE WILD BUNCH give much insight into the history--as opposed to the
myth--of the west. But of course the myth IS a key element of our history, and
one of the values of this film is in their embodiment (and variation) on the
myth. The other value, for me, is that each of them says a great deal about
the time in which it was PRODUCED. STAGECOACH is both a myth of the west and a
perfect manifestation of 1930s populism--largely a movie about class. THE
SEARCHERS is both a re-examination of the myth--with great ambivalence toward
it--and a manifestation of fifties-era attempts to deal w/ race and w/ issues
of community and non-conformity. I've never taught THE WILD BUNCH, so I don't
have as clear a sense of it, but it has always seemed to me very much part of
its era as well, partly, as I recall, in its celebration of the outsiders and
critique of the establishment. I agree that it's hard to defend the western as
a genre that mirrors the history of the American west. But it seems to me
extremely important as a measure of our cultural life in other ways.
 
bitnet tbbyer01@ulkyvm; internet [log in to unmask]
Thomas B. Byers
Department of English/University of Louisville
Louisville KY 40292