Variations on the Western:
From Classic to Post-Modern
The Bundy Museum Presents
Variations on the Western: From Classic to Post- Modern
Monthly Film Series Located in the Bundy Museum Annex Theater
(Behind the Museum)
Second Tuesday of Every Month
(September – February)
Doors open at 7:00PM Films Start at 7:30PM
Intro by Patrick Charsky
Discussion to follow films
This film series will examine the Western from its classical form to its contemporary style. The Western began with films that starred John Wayne as the cowboy with the law on his side. This is the classic Western that many of us grew up with. Settlement was good. Indians were bad. There were clear lines between right and wrong. In the 1970’s films changed and so did interpretations of the Western genre. Filmmakers like Sam Peckinpah and Robert Altman made films that re-interpreted the Western. They told stories about exploitation by corporations and about different themes such as greed and treachery. In contemporary times Westerns have used various viewpoints to tell different stories that are not in the classic vein. Filmmakers like Clint Eastwood have raised questions about who was on the side of the righteous; the Law or the Outlaw? Westerns have evolved to tell stories from different points of view. Furthermore, Westerns still deal with myth and reality. Many films are based on myths and arguments about what really happened.
UPCOMING SHOWS & DATES
September 10: The Searchers (1956)
Directed by John Ford
The Classic Western about an Indian Villain and a former Civil War soldier hot on his trail to take back his kidnapped niece. The journey is a long one that takes John Wayne all across the West.
October 8: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Directed by John Ford
James Stewart stars as a new lawyer trying to find a means to live. He becomes embroiled in a fight with the local gang who has been harassing settlers. In a final confrontation Stewart kills the lead bandit. Or does he? The film has a Rashomon quality of what really did happen that fateful night.
November 12: McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
Directed by Robert Altman
A realist take on life in the West. Warren Beauty stars as a gambler who meets Julie Christie. They go into business together. Business is great until a big corporation comes along. A final dual ensues.
December 10: The Wild Bunch (1969)
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
A story about bandits looking for one last big score; they find themselves in Mexico in conflict with a War Lord. All the while the American Law is in pursuit. William Holden stars in one of his last film roles. The story leads up to the one of the best endings of a Western in Film History.
January 14: Unforgiven (1992)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
In the last Western Clint Eastwood has made. A gunslinger comes out of retirement in an attempt to collect a reward. The mission is to kill two cowboys who cut up a young prostitute. Along the way a cast of characters reflects on the fading Western frontier and the legends it has created. Winner of four Academy Awards.
February 11: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Jesse James is the stuff of legend. This story is about how a young man who is infatuated with his legend grows to resent him. The film stars Brad Pitt with Casey Afleck as the antagonist who suffers greatly for his dastardly deed.