What’s Next for Western Movies?
|November 23, 2011||Posted by berns under Westernfilms||
In the last few years, film buffs and moviegoers have mourned the lack of Western movies while the rest of the world has gone doesn’t seem to care one bit. More people don’t know that anyone might care about a kind of movie that has been downplayed to a few unknown shelves at the local bookstore. Westerns were very sought after for over a hundred years. They were popular in the United States and in the whole world as well, who copied each and every one of them. The Western was a standard offering in Hollywood, television, and in our imagination.
Why Western Movies Have Declined
For one thing, there was too much exposure. Back In 1959, there were 26 Western TV series on prime time television. In western movies, John Wayne brandished his guns at countless bad guys. Paperback Westerns could be found in abundance in any drugstore, most of them were made by Louis L’Amour’s and depicted romance and adventure. The best writers and directors did some wonderful, quality stuff, but the demand was so great that a lot of substandard films also were made.
Most people believe that the Western movies genre is on its last legs. However, people like Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and a host of others make a good living from writing Westerns. Robert B. Parker temporarily abandoned private eye Spencer to do a trilogy about two guns for hire in the Wild West. Parker’s Appaloosa was made into a film recently and made a good profit of $28 million at the box office. The film 3:10 to Yuma made over $70 million in profits. In 1992, Unforgiven made by Clint Eastwood won the Oscar for Best Picture, the first Western to be given that hono. DVD sales of vintage Westerns do well, and Louie L’Amour, Zane Grey, and even Max Brand still sell enough books to make enthusiasts and moviegoers singing high praises.
Western Movies Are Still Here
Therefore, Western movies are not yet over, but it’s just not the trend at this time, especially for the upcoming generation. Action thrillers, fantasies, science fiction, and romantic comedies get more attention. Action movie sound tracks are filled with loud engines and not thundering horse hoofs. Television just broadcasts yet another variation of whatever popular show there is that people gobble up. In fact, the Western excesses of the late fifties are being repeated today with police shows. Maybe tired viewers are ready for more Westerns now.
In that regard, what kind of Western movies? Perhaps a different type altogether. There have been three specific Western variations. Experts call them the wholesome, the flawed hero, and the violent kinds.
The first, wholesome kinds lasted until the late fifties and were played by Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, and other cowboys sporting white hats. Instead of killing bad guys, they shot guns out of their hands. If someone was killed, they were really deserving of that punishment. Moreover, their death would be bloodless, with a hand to the chest to cover any blood or bullet holes. As in all eras, there was overlap, and during the later stages of the wholesome phase, Wayne and others made accurate Western movies. These were only shown in theatres and usually only allowed adults to see them during night showings.
That’s just a bit of the history of western movies that have changed and developed over the years. Fortunately, this genre is here to stay and will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.