Of a dying genre, but an examination of a type of film whose shadow still falls across the theatre screens of North America.” (The History of Film). This paper focuses on a comparative analysis of two modern western genre films in order to comprehend the significant elements and the history of the genre.The popularity of the western genre in the twentieth century may be understood as the result of their specific characteristics which are reflected in the modern blockbuster successes. The western, which was once a Hollywood staple, has fallen on hard times. “Its complex and rich intertwining of a frontier setting, male action and themes of national identity and history no more sustains a viable genre, and the framework for analysing it through the oppositions of civilization and wilderness, the garden and the desert, has been challenged.” (Geraghty 2007. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903), which is the first western genre film, illustrates the essential elements of the genre and by 1929s the western became a generic clip. The Searchers (1956) by John Ford is an illustrious example of the genre type and the hero’s status as a pathological outsider is a significant theme of the film which makes it an incredible celebration of the western genre. “In the history of the western, The Searchers is one of those movies that seems to define the genre. It includes all the characteristic elements of a western, and then adds some. Earlier in his career, director John Ford helped establish the western genre by making films about less complicated if still potent heroes, and in expanding the storytelling potential of this kind of film, he created a masterpiece.” (The History of Film). In this film, one finds the hero who is not a person of easy affection or clean morals. Above all, he is cruel towards others and bitter in his soul. The outstanding opening and closing images in the film reveal Ethan’s status as a pathological outsider and this theme gives rise to the spirit of individualism and makes it a wonderful western genre. “The Searchers came out of a period of severe personal and professional trauma for Ford: old age was catching up with him and his career itself was in jeopardy. It was his first western in five years — his return to the genre he loved most. The result was a western with a difference.” (Eckstein 2004. Therefore, it is most illumining to undertake an analysis of the film to comprehend the elements of a western
BOUCHER, Leigh and PINTO, Sarah. (2007). “I Aint Queer”: Love, Masculinity and History in Brokeback Mountain. The Journal of Men’s Studies. 15. (3). P. 311.
ECKSTEIN, Arthur M. “Introduction: Main Critical Issues in The Searchers.” (2004). The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John For’s Classic Western. Arthur M. Eckstein, Peter Lehman (Ed). Wayne State University Press.
FREEDMAN, Jonathan. (2000). The Affect of the Market: Economic and Racial Exchange in the Searchers. American Literary History. 12. (3). P. 587.
GERAGHTY, Christine. (2007). Now a Major Motion Picture: Film Adaptations of Literature and Drama. Rowman & Littlefield. P. 135.
GRANT, Barry Keith. (2003). Film Genre Reader III. University of Texas Press. P. xv.
GRAULICH, Melody and TATUM, Stephen. (2003). Reading ‘The Virginian’ in the New West. University of Nebraska Press. P. 264.
MARUBBIO, M. Elise. (2006). Killing the Indian Maiden: Images of Native American Women in Film. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. P. 228.
SWAAB, Peter. (2005). Homo on the Range: As Ang Lees Brokeback Mountain Is Released, Peter Swaab Searches for Earlier Instances of Male Love in the Wild West. New Statesman. 134 (4770). P. 40.
“The History of Film.” [online]. Genre and the Western, The Searchers. P. 3. Last Accessed 12 February 2009 at: http://www.cinematheque.bc.ca/education/pdfs/f_h_guide13.pdf
Please type your essay title, choose your document type, enter your email and we send you essay samples