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Rethinking the western genre's evolutionary model : hybridity, transculturation and national European cinemas

By Lee Broughton


Most serious studies that are concerned with the Western genre's evolution only take account of Westerns that were produced by the USA. As such. they employ theoretical methodologies ~d historical schema that link ongoing developments observed in the Western's form and content to technical innovations initiated within Hollywood and sociocultural/political changes experienced within American society. This means that the Western's received evolutionary model does not recognize the innovations introduced by Westerns produced outside of the USA, even if those Westerns did play on American cinema circuits. This dissertation seeks to bring an international dimension to the study of the Western. To this end it focuses critical attention upon Westerns produced by West Germany, Italy and Great Britain. Close readings of key films from these national European cinemas reveals that their Westerns offer consistently positive and progressive representations of the 'Other'. Having noted that a significant number of West German, Italian and British Westerns include notable representations of American Indians, African Americans and strong women respectively, the dissertation seeks to determine precisely why these national cinemas' engagements with the Western genre should result in such distinctive representations of each respective 'Other'. This enquiry involves investigating significant cultural, historical and political aspects of each of the three countries. In order to determine how innovative each European national cinema's depictions of their respective 'Other' might be, existing writing on the representation of the 'Other' in American Westerns is reviewed and a list of the representational 'rules' that American filmmakers routinely employed is compiled. Analyzing both American Westerns and European Westerns with these rules in hand reveals that each European national cinema's introduction of progressive depictions of the 'Other' prefigured the appearance of similarly progressive representations in American Westerns, thus problematizing the Western's received evolutionary model.EThOS - Electronic Theses Online ServiceGBUnited Kingdo

Topics: 05M - Sport, Recreation, tourism, 05L - Literature, mass media, performing arts
Year: 2012
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Provided by: OpenGrey Repository
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