ANTIMYTH WESTERNS

   Concurrent with the 1960s’revolution of cultural values, cinema Westerns began to challenge assumptions upon which classic Westerns were based. Perhaps the most obvious result was the deterritorialization of the classic Western by Italian directors such as Sergio Leone, who shot their films in Europe, usually Spain but sometimes Italy. These spaghetti Westerns removed geographic space as a regenerative force and developed antiheroes who no longer claimed moral rightness as an absolute. Good and bad mix freely, most notably in Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967). The moral center is based on self-preservation and self-gratification. Post-Westerns were clearly influenced by the popular ideas of mid-century existentialism as advocated by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Because they did not adequately deal with social issues such as sexism, homophobia, and racism (against Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and even Asian Americans), antimyth Westerns made a transitional philosophical statement and then were superseded by alternative Westerns.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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  • SPAGHETTI WESTERNS —    By the 1960s cinema Westerns were becoming so popular worldwide, especially in Europe, that the supply was having difficulty meeting the demand. Cinecitta Studios, among others, had been specializing in cheaply made, quickly produced action… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS —    The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the American Indian movement, and other historical events of the 1960s and 1970s brought paradigmatic changes in American culture that affected every form of art and… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • CLASSIC WESTERNS —    After the silent era ended, Westerns had trouble making the transition to sound because they depended on action, not talk. It did not seem that sound could add anything to Westerns, and people wanted to watch the talkies. B Westerns filled the …   Westerns in Cinema

  • POST-WESTERNS —    This term is often used synonymously with antimyth Westerns to refer to the films that came out in a short period of time from the 1960s and 1970s, including spaghetti Westerns. Post Westerns were clearly influenced by the popular ideas of… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) —    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Kevin Costner (director)    Costner’s alternative Western ushered in a new era of Westerns after the antimyth Westerns of the 1960s through the 1980s had played out their course and made their… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • EASTWOOD, Clint — (1930– )    Clint Eastwood is unquestionably one of the most important figures in the history of cinema Westerns. On numerous levels, his Man with No Name character in Sergio Leone’s 1960s Dollars Trilogy forever changed the concept of the… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • FORD, John — (1894–1973)    Born John Martin Feeney in Maine, John Ford began his career in film by working bit parts in the films of his brother (Francis Ford) and others. Among his earliest bit parts was that of a Klansman in D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a …   Westerns in Cinema

  • WAYNE, John — (1907–1979)    Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne, nicknamed “the Duke,” is for many the name most associated with movie cowboys. A star University of Southern California football player, he turned a summer job as general… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • DETERRITORIALIZATION —    Classic Westerns identify directly and intimately with the landscapeof the West. Deterritorialization, a term originated by Paul Bleton, refers to the trend in post Westerns toward separation from traditional Western settings. Western… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • THE WILD BUNCH (1969) —    William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Sam Peckinpah (director)    The bloodiest Western ever made; with this film Westerns changed forever these are the usual talking points for The Wild Bunch. Perhaps the most memorable scene is the… …   Westerns in Cinema

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