The Crowded Prairie: The Hollywood Western and American National Identity (Cinema & Society)

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9781860640407: The Crowded Prairie: The Hollywood Western and American National Identity (Cinema & Society)
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The Crowded Prairie examines the interaction of the Hollywood Western with diverse strands of US society, culture and ideology from the end of the Depression to the Bicentennial in 1976. In these years the Western became a vital medium for exploring many tensions which beset modern America, engaging covertly with such thorny issues as intervention in World War II, miscegenation, generational discord, ethnic ascendancy, McCarthyism, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Watergate and, above all, the individual's ever-increasing alienation from the changing values of American society. With force and fluency, Michael Coyne focuses on a group of Westerns chosen according to commercial success and critical acclaim, charting the Western's thematic transition from an agenda of patriotism and community involvement to fundamental distrust of America's power structure and personal disaffection.

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About the Author:

Michael Coyne is a writer and film historian. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

From Library Journal:

Coyne (history, Univ. of Edinburgh) brings forth a bracing analysis of what he terms the golden age of Hollywood Westerns, from Stagecoach (1939) to The Shootist (1976). As the title suggests, he targets an academic or highly literate audience, for whom lingo such as "patriarchy" and "Manichacan" signifies much. Minimally, readers must be familiar with most grade A Westerns and television miniseries of the era. Coyne is well versed in this material, and the diligent reader will welcome his ability to emphasize his points through the judicious use of dialog, contemporary critics' reviews, and box office receipts. Equally appreciated are reevaluations of Duel in the Sun (1946), The Big Country (1958), and Warlock (1959). Films are placed in context to their times and each other, but more important, combed for subtexts that create or reflect American identity. Race, male supremacy, dysfunctional families, and Vietnam are all stirred into a stimulating soup. For all academic film collections.?Kim R. Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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