A history of the western movie, from "The Great Train Robbery" in 1902 to Hollywood hits of the early-21st century. It takes an A-to-Z look at the thousands of westerns that have packed movie houses and captured audiences over the years. There are more than 3500 entries, and each one includes the film's statistics - title, year released, director, writers and screenwriters, cast, and running time - along with a summary of the film and a critical analysis of the more significant stars and films. This reference also includes information on popular western serials and film series. Additional features include: information on the genre that made Clint Eastwood an international star - spaghetti westerns, so-called because most of these films were produced in Europe and financed by Italian companies; approximately 75 black-and-white photographs that capture moments in western film history; a historical overview of western movies at the Oscars - the winners, the losers, and the overlooked; and an appendix citing literary sources for western films.
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Herb Fagen is one of the nation's leading experts on the subject of the Hollywood Western. He is the author of several books, including Duke, We're Glad We Knew You and Stand Tall, Pilgrim: The John Wayne Quote Book. Mr. Fagen also contributes articles on Western movies for publications such as Filmfax, Classic Images, and Movie Marketplace. He lives in Walnut Creek, CA.From Booklist:
Western films endure even through the ebb and flow of their immediate popularity. This reference book covers more than 3,500 western films over the past 100 years. The author has tried to be as comprehensive as possible in listing feature films. He includes mainly sound productions and covers silent, serial, and TV films selectively. A few crossover titles, such as Hud and Oklahoma! show the Western influence.
Longtime western aficionado Fagen has written several books on this genre. Both Tom Selleck and Dale Robertson wrote prefaces for this volume, in support of westerns and their history.
A three-page introduction traces the history and main actors of western films. The body of the book consists of alphabetically arranged film titles. Each entry lists the credits. About half of the entries have only a sentence or two about the movie, but a few, such as the entries for High Noon and Shane, continue for two pages and include production notes, some plot summary and critical commentary, and quotes from critics, performers, and filmmakers. Series are cross-referenced. Writing is clear and usually positive. About 100 black-and-white captioned photos of actors and screen shots offer visual relief and information.
Five appendixes provide useful data: a one-page discussion and A-Z list of spaghetti westerns (noting date and director); a chronological list of western Oscar nominees and winners; a list of movies based on books; two supplementary chronological lists of silent and sound titles for which insufficient information or box office returns exist; and a selected bibliography. The index mainly cites names and film titles.
Though the book generally lacks depth, its broad base offers a good starting point for research on this genre. Recommended for film collections in academic and public libraries. RBB
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