Category: Western Serials
|November 22, 2011||Posted by berns under Western Serials, Westernfilms||
The majority of western movies will usually show a gunfighter against another gunfighter. One would usually be the good guy and one would usually be the bad guy. However, both of them would be very handy and quick with a an old wheel gun or single shot rifle, it would often be exciting thinking which of them was going to end up being shot first. During the early westerns, often it would be the cowboys against the native Americans or even the cavalry against the horseback riding gangs. These western movies would follow a specific set of stories and scenes that was the staple at the time.
After many years, moviegoers would change and so did the people who made the western movies. This would bring on the western genre of films that would depict the wagon trail or the settler’s trails and these would become the norm for that period. There was even a point when the most successful western style of movies would feature a singing cowboy and even dancing of some sort.
Reliving the Past with Western Movies
Nevertheless, all things comes back around again and it has been the gunfighter genre that has been shown to withstand the test of time. For example, in 1939, the movie Stagecoach, which was a silent film was considered to be a great western and to this day it is still considered a classic. But, by the 1960’s, the beautiful landscape that was such a very large part of the movie Stagecoach had given way to the gritty gun fighting movies such as The Magnificent Seven and the movies that were called spaghetti westerns because they were being made by an Italian director. This gun fighting regime would certainly hold its own and eventually come out as the top favorite version of the western movies genre.
More modern examples are western films like Young Guns and Tombstone. These were harsh stories that would tell the story of some of the Wild West’s most well known or infamous people like Billy the Kid, Doc Holiday, and Wyatt Earp and usually feature many fist fights as well as gun play.
The New Style of Western Movies
In the last few years are western movies such as the Unforgiven and Lonesome Dove that proved highly successful as well. These were not considered to be gunfighter movies in the strictest sense. But it is certainly debatable with Unforgiven specifically. Nevertheless, these were more character driven films that would portray the hard life one had in the west and in the lawless towns that they would go through. It was Unforgiven that became well acclaimed for being an Academy Award winner.
Hence, as more western movies are being produced and filmed, there are much more to choose from that could include gun fighting, wagon trains, and even some dancing or singing cowboys if that is the request. One thing for sure is that this genre is here to stay, forever.
|November 22, 2011||Posted by berns under Western Serials, Westernfilms||
Western films have always been an enjoyable kind of movie or television show for millions of viewers. The appeal of the wild west with its scenic landscapes and its historic characters that includes the lawless gunfighters that seem to have an attraction that cannot be classified.
These have been a standard offering of the entertainment industry since both movie and television’s development with great success. This article will take a look at a few of both the movies and television shows that have given so much enjoyment to people and explore some of the characters that have been depicted.
The Spread of Western Films
Let’s start with the western films most well known since they were around long before the television and the shows that were developed for that media format.
The location called Monument Valley, which is at the four corners site of the U.S. that includes the states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico and has always been a preferred shooting site for many films. One in particular was called Stagecoach. The capacity to show the beautiful scenery in a wide screen medium that was the primary contribution to this film. This helped to set the norms that other western films would copy.
Next, was the film “The Magnificent Seven” that portrayed the usual scenario of the good guys protecting the townsfolk and was to become a Hollywood standard that never fully stopped to this day. Then there were the Italian made western films that helped to develop the loner type of character portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the movies known as “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, For a Few Dollars More”, as well as in “A Fist Full of Dollars.” These became hugely successful and many western movie enthusiasts are very familiar with these Sergio Leone directed westerns.
Modern Western Films
Just a few years ago, Billy the Kid and his gang were portrayed by the young blood of tinseltown in the movie “Young Guns.” This western film made so much money it was quickly followed by another. Even the highly respected actor/director Clint Eastwood continued his western movie genre with the movie “Unforgiven” which went on to win an Academy Award. Finally, if western movies are being discussed, it is very hard to list them down and not include legendary actor John Wayne into the mix. He became the icon of the western movie for decades.
There were also television shows that took part in this genre like “The Lone Ranger” and “Bonanza,” and especially “Gunsmoke.” These would depict various styles of living in the Wild West and follow the characters and their lives from range life to lawless towns where the most important place in town would be the saloon. But Western films were still the most popular form of entertainment in this kind since they could easily exported to other countries.
Despite the often atypical qualities of western films like the gunfighter, the horse, and the saloon, many people still find them quite enjoyable. This is certainly why they have appealed to generations of moviegoers and they will continue to do so for generations more.
|September 18, 2011||Posted by Ariadne under Western Serials||
When I had found out about the new DVD release of North and South mini-series, I was immediately swept by my childhood memories. Back then, North and South was perhaps my favorite serial of all time. Straight from the first second of the brilliant orchestral opening theme, I was immersed in every episode. What unraveled before me was a complex and magnificent story, set in turbulent times and populated with an impressive cast of characters.
Even though North and South falls into the Western genre, it is best known as a historical saga. The central plot revolves around the northerner George Hazard (James Read) and the southerner Orry Main (Patrick Swayze), who become friends while being cadets at West Point. The story further follows them and their families in years to come, as they endure the hardships of the American Civil War. Many subplots are furthermore set against the rich historical background, adding to the story its share of romance and intrigue.
North and South’s numerous cast includes the legends such as Johnny Cash, Gene Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, to name the few. It is also sometimes forgotten that the role of Orry Main has in fact brought Patrick Swayze to fame even before he filmed Dirty Dancing.
The saga is actually an adaptation of novels written by John Jakes. While the entire serial is often known simply as North and South, this title more precisely only refers to book one (1985 series). Love and War is an adaptation of book two (1986 series), and Heaven and Hell book three (1994 series).
Here I must say that in this text so far, I’ve been in fact praising only the first two adaptations, filmed in the 80’s. As for Heaven and Hell… there is no Heaven in this! Unlike the well received 80’s adaptations, Heaven and Hell was disliked by critics and fans alike.
Heaven and Hell came with the delay, as the third book wasn’t initially planned for adaptation. This brought about some issues with the continuity of the plot, and on top of everything, the atmosphere in this weak production was so different, that it felt like a completely different show. I don’t remember much of Heaven and Hell, probably because I wanted to forget I ever watched it. Yes, the first two adaptations took some liberties from the books, but were nonetheless a wonderful, rounded story. They are perfectly sufficient to watch without this third installment, which is best left forgotten.
This year’s DVD release brings together the entire North and South collection. Even with the flaws of Heaven and Hell, the release still makes for terrific news, since the first two adaptations are brilliant, memorable and a must watch for anyone interested in this genre!