The term Spaghetti Western became popular in the mid 60’s in which A Fistful of Dollars was released as the first film of a trilogy, but this was not Sergio Leone’s first western movie. Leone’s films were not of a typical American western that had been released in previous years, but instead a reaction or his own take of the Western frontier and through many aspects of his films we can see influences from Italian cinematic styles and approaches. This was an interesting time for the western film industry as John Wayne was sick with lung cancer and had a lung removed in 1964. Other notable stars in the Western genre were filming other productions and this was a perfect time for Leone to introduce his Western films from his approach. “Between 1950 and 1963 the production of Westerns in Hollywood had gone from 34 percent of all features released, to a mere 9 percent in 1963 from about 150 films to 15. As a result, Europeans began to produce their own westerns and in the process revitalized the old stories with distinctive elements and hybrid forms. (Frayling)” There was a demand or a void of these Italian films in America as many producers shifted their focus on television as that market was rapidly expanding in the United States. As a result of this we saw “Between 1962 and 1976 over 450 westerns were produced in Italy or involved Italian financial interest. (Frayling)”
One of the major aspects in which Sergio Leone subverts the conventions of the Classical Western film genre
In chapter two of The Cultures of American Film, the main focus is the establishment of studios. As demand for films rose in the early 1900’s, production companies needed to expand; this lead to the creation of large scale studios.
During the course of this essay it is my intention to discuss the differences between Classical Hollywood and post-Classical Hollywood. Although these terms refer to theoretical movements of which they are not definitive it is my goal to show that they are applicable in a broad way to a cinema tradition that dominated Hollywood production between 1916 and 1960 and which also pervaded Western Mainstream Cinema (Classical Hollywood or Classic Narrative Cinema) and to the movement and changes that came about following this time period (Post-Classical or New Hollywood). I intend to do this by first analysing and defining aspects of Classical Hollywood and having done that,
Over the course of his life, John Wayne developed a powerful and one of a kind star persona. John Wayne's persona is highly tied to masculinity, which we see through many of his character roles in his Western films. John Wayne made many movies throughout his long, illustrious career but he is most well-known for his appearances in Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), Rio Bravo (1959), True Grit (1969) and many more. Throughout John Wayne's career, his persona shows us the nature of the world where men are forced to choose to be part of a family or to remain independent and keep their masculinity. Ultimately, his persona sends the message that men can be family
American cinema flourished due to their movies about Italian Americans being portrayed as mafia. “ Our national obsession for violence, and blood and our out-of-control appetite for wealth and power is siphoned off and projected onto Italian organized crime.” This quote clearly stated that due to the Americans obsession to watch violence and blood, Italian Americans became the main target for them to achieve that due to their history. However, they ignore the fact that it was only a certain percentage of Italian Americans that were part of the mafia while the rest Italian Americans were immigrants struggling to survive past those stereotypes. “ According to the
Porter had found inspiration from various European film makers and had studied in depth the effect it would have on is target market, when he finally released is first attempt, The life of an American Fireman (1903), he hadn’t polished it as well as he had hoped. However when he released The Great Train Robbery it was clear that he had introduced the west to a new style of film making and changed how narrative was expressed within film forever.
Clint Eastwood’s, Unforgiven, represents a “new” type of Western that defies the formula previously used to create traditional Western films. Unlike Shane, a film with a clear-cut threat to the community, endangering all homesteaders, a lack of defense, creating an unfair advantage to the threat imposed, and a true hero, one who saves the day and must willingly return to where he came from, Unforgiven is a Western that is told through a different formula. Eastwood tackles this revisionist piece and lacks the three basic components to any classic Western film – a threat, lack of defense, and a hero.
The debate over Casablanca and Citizen Kane has been a classic argument between film critics and historians alike because both of these pieces contain great cinematographic value, and are timeless pictures that have managed to captivate audiences well beyond their era. However, the real question at hand is which film is the greatest? Which film transformed the future of American film making? It is these questions that I as many others have, will attempt to answer in the following essay as I explain why I believe Citizen Kane has achieved the status of greatest film ever made.
Over the decades there has been an allure to the Western, no matter what form it is enjoyed. A good story about the misunderstood hero winning the day and riding off into the sunset never seems to stop bringing in the audiences. What really was the attraction of the Western in its heyday? From the early nineteenth century into the the 1950s, the Western attracted many readers and viewers to its genre. Sure there was gunfights, cowboys and Indians fighting over what each wanted from this harsh landscape that was the west. People were entranced by the mystery of the land that wanted to be tamed, or not. In all this mixture of heroes saving the town among wagon trains rolling over the plains, there was something else brewing in American minds. There were changes going on in America during the rise of the Western. Industrialization and social changes such as the women’s suffrage movement had citizens looking for a new frontier to get answers from. The west offered the change in scenery, and an untouched society, and the freedom to reinvent oneself. Americans were seeing in the Western a way back to simpler times or a vision of breaking away from society and back to nature.
During this time the film studios grew in power, new stars and directors were discovered and the eight major studios produced more than 7500 feature films. “These films were released by the studios to audiences eager to be entertained. More than 80 million people attended at least one film per week. This period enjoyed the greatest collection of talent gathered in one place.” (Motion Pictures, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001)
He was the academy winning Western legend, recognized as one of the best filmmakers of all time, his name was John Ford. He started out his career in film in July 1914 as an assistant, labourman and actor for his brother Francis Ford. It was not until 1917 where he made his debut as a director with the lost film, The Tornado and ended his career in the early 1970s with his last film Chesty: A Tribute to a Legend. During his early years, he was making silent films where Westerns were very popular during the time. When the introduction of sound came and the birth of Talkies came, however, the genre started losing its popularity. Yet, that did not stop the director from working on the genre, eventually to the point where he is now credited today as the man who played a huge role in bringing the westerns back to popularity. So, in this video essay, I will be talking about John Ford’s take on Westerns and how he revolutionized the genre.
During the 1950s “Golden Age” of the genre, more Western movies were produced in the United States than films of all other genres combined. Such was the immense appeal of the form that by 1959, the small screen too had become dominated by the image of the cowboy, with twenty-four Westerns being broadcast on prime time television in America each week. Just as television companies had sought to cash-in on the enduring popularity of the Western movie, so too did directors and production companies across the Atlantic attempt to diversify the genre further with their own brand of “Euro-Westerns”. For example, in Germany, the nineteenth century adventure novels of Karl May were adapted for the screen, with Winnetou (released internationally as
What factors lay behind the "upscaling" of Hollywood film genres during the 1950s? Identify the significant genres of the postwar period, and explain how each was affected by enhanced production values and increased thematic complexity.
Released in 1988 by director Giuseppe Tomatore, “Cinema Paradiso” follows the life of a young boy in Italy who dreams of being a filmmaker. The road the boy, who eventually becomes a famous Italian film director named Salvatore Di Vita, takes to reach his goal is difficult and includes many sacrifices and trade-offs. Today, the film is widely regarded as one of the most popular foreign films ever to be released in the United States. Given that foreign films are fairly common in America, it is fair to consider why “Cinema Paradiso” received such critical acclaim, as well as relative mainstream popularity. “Cinema Paradiso” received critical and popular praise because the film includes several timeless themes
In this essay I will look at the emergence of Italian neo-realist cinema and how Italian Neo-realism has been defined and classified in the film industry as well as how its distinct cinematic characteristics could only have been conceived in Italy and how these characteristics set the neo-realist style apart from other realist movements and from Hollywood.