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Film genres usually go in cycles. You could ask the same question about
musicals, as westerns. The bottom line is the bottom line - Hollywood makes
movies which it thinks will make money - that's why we're currently going
through the teenage angst/romance/dating cycle, with some horror stuff
thrown in. It's really a question of demographics.  The western had a long
run for its money - think of The Great Train Robbery in 1903 and the silent
William S. Hart efforts, through the mainly B-westerns/serials of the
thirties and forties, into the classics such as Stagecoach in 1939 and
other John Ford and Sam Peckinpah westerns. Most major directors took a
shot at the western genre. Also, in the heyday of the western, the
Hollywood studio system with its back lots and standing western town sets
was still going strong, meaning that westerns were inexpensive to make.
It's that bottom line again!  But don't forget recent westerns such as
Unforgiven and Dances With Wolves (though this could be considered a quasi
western), which were very successful and Oscar worthy. These days it's
likely the problem of finding the right material for a worthy western -
it's politically incorrect now to mow down "them pesky redskins"!

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From: alloro55 <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The Great American Western
Date: Saturday, October 30, 1999 5:32 PM

Why is it that Hollywood has seemed to abandon the genre of making
Westerns? There have been only a few great ones made during the last fifty
years. Only Shane comes to mind as the "standard" by which all others might
be measured. The Magnificent Seven, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid  and
The Wild Bunch would also rank high, but in recent times it appears that
Hollywood is merely trying to attract younger audiences with Young Guns (
Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sutherland,) Wyatt Earp( both Kurt Russell
and Kevin Costner versions), The Quick and The Dead( Sharon Stone and
Leonardo DiCaprio).

Perhaps with the exception of a series of Clint Eastwood films (The Outlaw
Josey Wales, Pale Rider, The Unforgiven) the making of this type of film
seems to be too risky for Hollywood or either a lost art form.

Any thoughts?

Alan L. Rousseau

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