By Peter C. Rollins
Hollywood’s West examines renowned perceptions of the frontier as a defining characteristic of yankee identification and historical past. Seventeen essays by means of in demand movie students remove darkness from the attract of lifestyles at the fringe of civilization and research how this zone has been represented on large and small monitors. Differing characterizations of the frontier in smooth pop culture display a number of truths approximately American awareness and supply insights into many vintage Western motion pictures and tv courses, from RKO’s 1931 vintage Cimarron to Turner community Television’s fresh made-for-TV video clips.
Covering issues akin to the portrayal of race, ladies, fantasy, and nostalgia, Hollywood’s West makes an important contribution to the knowledge of ways Westerns have formed our nation’s evaluations and beliefs—often utilizing the frontier as metaphor for modern matters.
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Additional info for Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History
The town hires a vigilante (again Henry Fonda) to restore order. On one level the film presents Dmytryk’s allegory for the experience of HUAC and the Hollywood Ten. ) On another level it undoes the lesson of High Noon as the Fonda character, having tutored the town’s young sheriff into a capable law man and then personally killing the town’s chief desperado, decides to move on rather than face off against his protégé. Costello suggests that this development reflects a decline in confidence in liberal values.
E. SMYTH o 49 extricates, or deposes, him from his cross. The film presents two scenes of violent racial hatred, the mother teaching the son to hate and an incident of anti-Semitism, which, although part of Edna Ferber’s historical novel, were rarely acknowledged in the accepted history and myth of the American West. Soon after “1890” fades in and out over a long shot of the growing town, the film introduces a new text insert: the front page of Yancey’s newspaper.
It is a history of egalitarian white settlement sanctioned by the authority of the president, a panegyric to the government and the people who transformed “raw land” into a great nation. As in Turner’s view, the previous occupants of the “raw land,” the Indians, have been almost entirely written out of the history of the West. The “vast Indian Oklahoma lands” are opened up to white settlers by the government; there is no mention of broken treaties or territorial displacement. Courtesy of RKO Pictures.