Melar Geertje Cools rated kutses liked it Jul 24, His chapters on Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher were marvelous because both directors had pretty much completed their contibutions to the western genre. Contact Contact Us Help. The Sea Wolf [Blu-ray]. The Leone chapter is okay but is far colder than the rest of the book.
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In seeking to discern the artistic personality of the director across a body of films, auteurism spurred the academic study of Hollywood genres. Yet, despite their examination of the genre films of certain directors, the auteurists remained uninterested in charting the broader, historical developments or trends of Hollywood cinema or in establishing the theoretical criteria by which to gauge particular genres. Three extremely influential studies in early genre criticism were to change that bias; all had inherited the critical framework of auteurism but were attempting to grapple with larger questions of genre through a select group of directors.
The introductory title is telling. Like the original Horizons West, Kitses locates his directors firmly within the Western genre. As opposed to purely auteurist approaches that argue that the director transcends a set of genre conventions through their personal style, Kitses views the director and the Western as working in unison to construct a mutually-informed system of generic signification.
On the one hand, theorists arrive at a relatively simple definition of a particular genre for instance, musicals contain song and dance routines that can be used as an inclusive generic checklist and applied to a broad range of examples. At the same time, though, genre theorists continue to work from an exclusive canon in which the same films and the same directors are held up again and again as indicative of the entire generic corpus 2. In , Kitses found the thematic resonance of the Western in the historical and geographic establishment of the American frontier, where films were usually set between the years of and the generic conflict could be distilled to that of civilisation versus the wilderness 3.
Although Kitses did not discount that Italians could make Westerns in , he certainly never discussed them; an indication of the more general critical neglect that Leone suffered during the sixties and seventies despite his popularity with American audiences because not only were these films not made on American soil, they appeared to have no investment in the mythology of the American Frontier 4.
Of course, Leone was about something else entirely in his lovingly operatic deconstructions of the Hollywood Western.
Being included in the Western canon is not extended to everyone, it seems. The first time around, Kitses felt it was too presumptuous to take on Ford; this time he provides detailed thematic analyses of all the Ford Westerns which is where Kitses is at his most interesting, even if his defence of Ford against charges of racism and sexism remains, at times, unconvincing.
Looking to veritable icons of the Western and predominantly Hollywood feature films to structure this intensive study, Kitses openly acknowledges his own subjective bias in approaching the Western.
Many genre theorists have argued that film genres are not self-contained, evolutionary forms but develop as the sustained result of both industrial processes and historical concerns, shaped by complex relays between director, audience and industry 5.
After all, it is his revision of his own book so it is entirely fitting that he talks about the Westerns that continue to move him. Although he hints at such an underlying generic collision throughout his analysis of Ford and again in his chapter on Leone, he never deals with its implications for the Western or what this might mean for genre theory. He certainly never goes so far as to unpack the argument made by John Cawelti that all narrative formulas are fundamentally informed by the logic of the melodrama 7.
Kitses all too quickly rushes through the idea that even classical Hollywood had its generic hybrids and hyperconscious-generic products, in favour of reading more contemporary Westerns as instances of postmodern pastiche.
Also, there are a number of commercially successful Westerns that altered the historical development of the genre shifting the frontier to Mexico, introducing group protagonists, bounty hunters and an increasing cynicism towards the very community that the gunslinger had traditionally fought for and these are dealt with only in passing. There remains plenty of work to be done on the Western yet.
Not only does this neglect the rich pre-cinematic history of the Western Wild West Shows and literary traditions such as the Leatherstocking Tales, to name a few and its ongoing popularity during the silent era, Kitses does not do justice to the televisual renaissance of the Western in the 60s, which occurred even as Leone was re-vitalising the Western for American audiences.
For some, Boetticher is up there with John Ford or Sergio Leone in his contribution to the genre…but maybe that is my own subjective take on what makes for a great Western. In the edition of Horizons West, Kitses also situates his study of the Western as a parallel to that of McArthur and the gangster film, both as reactions against pure auteurism Kitses, p. The critical reception of Leone in studies of the Western has been extensively discussed by Christopher Frayling, in his analysis of the Spaghetti Western.
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Horizons West: The Western from John Ford to Clint Eastwood
The critical reception of Leone in studies of the Western has been extensively discussed by Christopher Frayling, in his analysis of the Spaghetti Western. Please try again later. Kitses then adds two chapters, one of Sergio Leone and one on Clint Eastwood. Kitsws Whitaker rated it liked it Mar 24, There is no question Jim Kitses knows intimately the movies he explores in this kitsea.
JIM KITSES HORIZONS WEST PDF