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Hollywood AestheticPleasure in American Cinema$
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Todd Berliner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190658748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190658748.001.0001

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Complexity and Experimentation in the Western

Complexity and Experimentation in the Western

(p.219) Twelve Complexity and Experimentation in the Western
Hollywood Aesthetic

Todd Berliner

Oxford University Press

Chapter 12 explains the aesthetic value of increased complexity in genre filmmaking by examining filmmakers’ efforts to continually complicate the figure of the western hero. The chapter studies the appeal, for western cinephiles, of Hollywood’s most complex westerns of the studio era. It also demonstrates how more recent filmmakers have kept the western alive by revitalizing outdated conventions and mining new material from the genre. The western is so solid and reliable that filmmakers found they could sledgehammer its foundational myths without cracking its structure.

Keywords:   Western, Genre, Complexity, Experimentation, Parody, Stagecoach, The Searchers, Unforgiven, James Stewart, Anthony Mann

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