Thursday, 22 July 2010

Rich Hall's - How The West Was Lost

Following on from Mr Hall's satirical look at the 'Dirty South' and it's Hollywood persona Rich last night turned his attentions to the Wild West.

Hall analyised the history of the Western from it's inception up to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven he informed the audience as to how certain films were repesentative of US politics and society of their time. He discussed how the Western was threatened by it's own saturation of the market and how it constantly reinvented itself when it became to stale. It was interesting to hear Hall's thoughts on what made a good Western and what it represents to Americans. Since Hollywood began they have been churning out Westerns and the American cinema going public love them. Hall puts this down to the cowboy being the quintessential American - individualist and morally upstanding. Plus he shoots guns.

The show is effectively the autopsy of the Western genre in cinema as Hall tracks it's highs and lows at the box office and tries to put his finger on the point the Western died. During the show I was informed as to my ignorance towards Westerns in thinking that the films I had seen (mainly from 1970 onwards) were the best of the bunch. Hall shows little enthusiasm for the spaghetti westerns of Leone or those that followed it and cites Unforgiven as the only western worth watching since the days of John Ford or Sam Peckinpah. I shall be revisiting my own Western collection and digging out some of the films noted by Hall as I intend to one day make a contemporary Western of my own. Not an easy task I know.

Hall's typically dry humour and interesting way at looking at the world kept my chuckling and the subject of his film was informative. As a massive fan of Westerns and a filmmaker myself I found the show interesting, intruiging and thought provoking, but it's clear that you don't need aspirations of a Hollywood career in order to enjoy it. However, a fondness for Westerns will help.

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