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I'm not sure this Columnist is entirely correct, but it is a very interesting question on the future of Western Movies and what form they may take. At least someone is discussing it....
Thanks for sharing this.I think that the writer was pretty close to spot on here.We now have a largely different vision and priorities than formerly and when our idealism and values are expressed it isn't largely through the filter of the old west paradigm anymore.That ideal was starting to become deconstructed by the western films themselves many years before the demise of the genre and while westerns will never disappear they will never have quite the same cachet and value as formerly.It's really very sad-I really can't think of much of anything that has come along since the demise of the genre that even comes close in romance or epic vision.
What I believe is killing film these days is computer graphics. It's like watching a cartoon where humans can defy the laws of physics without harm and check their emotions and intellects at the door. The camera work has become so distracting, it's difficult to concentrate on the movie. The last Bond flick ruined my appetite for movies anymore. Maybe I'm just getting old and the world seems to be moving faster and louder. I watched a few scenes from Out of Africa a month or so ago and found its pace was r e a l l y s l o w. It was then that I realized how fast and vacuous the pace of today's movies are. And cg doesn't work as well in westerns, so it seems. Using real dust and wind and horses, etc. is just so last week.
The author of the article, as well as some of the commentors to his article make valid observations. But I wouldn't use the phrase "the demise of the genre," for, as everyone agrees, the genre will never completely disappear. Some things excite the public's imagination to such an extent that they can be said to be a fad or even a craze. The craze phase of the western hung around for a very long time, and for reasons indicated in the article, the comments and blogs above, has now faded, but the genre still exists and attracts, and though far fewer western movies are produced now than when we were greatly oversaturated by them, the proportion of good, true, mature works to drivel is greater.
Our view of Wyatt Earp is emblematic of the difference between westerns during our days of naivete and the cynical present. Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, the book by Stuart Lake, had us believing in a hero who was stalwart and intrepid and virtuous in the enforcement of law and order and in fighting and eradicating the criminal element. A morality tale of good against evil, good guys and bad guys, white and black.Wyatt was a church deacon. Wyatt never shot to kill except in self defense or in defense of his friends and family. Even on his vendetta ride, he gave Indian Charlie a fair chance to draw against him, etc. Then historians bring out facts that are not so savory: Wyatt was a some time horse thief, he may have frequented bordellos, he was a consumate gambler and owner of saloons, he took a cut from the earnings of whores, he never legally married his last "wife," he disregarded the law in wreaking bloody vengeance on those he deemed responsible for the assasinations of his kin. So our western hero is no longer as pure and white as new snow, but dirty and gritty as slush. He may no longer be a complete role model for our youth, but movies showing his seamy side may actually be more interesting, as well as more true.
Well said Murray.
Audiences are not as naive as they were (even the kiddos), and I don't mean that as an insult but more of an awaking experience (sign of the times). They still strive for the bigger than life, almost fantasy driven action packed, thrill ride each and every second with completely impossible scenarios, where people both good and bad can/do defy the basic laws of physics and reality as we know it, storylines, and just don't seem to care too much about a good movie for it's human moments or a common easily predictable out come.
It all boils down to the might dollar, and if the only people buying tickets want to see mind boggling excess, that’s what they will get.
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