Violence on Film Essay

2304 Words 10 Pages
The Western stands as one of the great genres of Hollywood cinema, as it possesses the ability to transcend both time and subject matter. Accordingly, the types of themes which this genres addresses, such as romanticism, and American heroism, can still be seen as viable commodities within modern-day storytelling. However, while The Western has focused on various topics throughout its cinematic history, what ultimately serves as the primary critique of the genre, is the exploration of role of violence and aggression within society (Lusted 16). Furthermore, at the source of this examination is the “Gunfighter” Western, which centers the focus of the genre to a more individualized and intimate perspective. Accordingly, films such as Henry …show more content…
Instead, the films focus on a singular character, whose willingness to proceed with supposed social morality, is stifled by his inability to evade his past aggressions, playing more on internal struggle. Accordingly, the gunfighter as character, is both hero and foe; to himself and to society. In this way, the jekyll-Hyde characterization of the protagonists (Parks 51) almost acts in the same way as the dynamic in The Searchers, with the singular character coming to play the part of both threat, and hero, thus unifying the sub-genre within the greater Western style.
Fittingly, one of the first films to issue in this sub-genre of the Western, is Henry King’s The Gunfighter (Lusted 210). This film stars popular actor Gregory Peck, who had previously stared in a variety of westerns including, Duel In the Sun,(1946) in which he played a romantic role, and Yellow Sun, (1948) in which he played a small time crook, who falls in love with the granddaughter of the man he's trying to steal from (IMDB). However, although the hollywood star system during this period, was defined by the fact that stars were to be“accepted by the public in term of a certain set of personality traits, which permeate all of his or her film roles,” (Harris 125) Pecks role within this film, goes beyond what audiences were presumably expecting
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