The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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domino harvey
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The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

#1 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:02 pm

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THE WESTERN LIST REDUX
November 05 2016 - March 08 2017

As Horace Greeley once famously said, "Go West, young man... again." Your list must contain fifty films. They must be in order. They must be westerns. If you're not sure it's a western, vote for it. If someone else votes for it, it's a western. Miniseries are eligible. TV series are not. Don't vote for fucking Deadwood Season One. PM lists to me, domino harvey, by March 8th 2017.


Results from the first round can be found HERE


MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

the Keeping Room (Daniel Barber 2015) R1/A Drafthouse (domino harvey)

Spotlights from the first round
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT TITLES
the Return of a Man Called Horse (Irving Kershner 1976) R1 MGM (tojoed)
Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur 1955) R1 VCI (Gringo Tex)
Yellow Sky (William A Wellman 1948) R1 Fox (domino harvey)
Past Western Forum Discussions
Allan Dwan on DVD
the Alternate American Film List
the Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1927-1968)
America-ness
American Cinema and Gun Culture
Andre de Toth
Anthony Mann
the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Audie Murphy
the Big Trail
Budd Boetticher
Budd Boetticher Box Set
Cheyenne Autumn
Classic Westerns Round Up
Clint Eastwood vs Spike Lee
Directed by John Ford
Eclipse Series 5: the First Films of Samuel Fuller
Ennio Morricone
Errol Flynn Westerns
European Westerns
Fallout from...the Ox-Bow thread?
Film Forum's Essential Westerns series
Ford at Fox
Fritz Lang
the Furies
Gary Cooper Signature Collection
Henry King
High Noon
Historical Accuracy in Cinema
Howard Hawks
Jacques Tourneur
James Stewart Signature Collection
Jesse James X3
John Ford
the John Ford Film Collection
John Ford on DVD
the John Wayne/John Ford Film Collection
John Wayne Promotion
King Vidor
Michael Cimino
Monte Hellman
Monte Hellman on DVD
1950s List Discussion and Suggestions
Offbeat Westerns
Once Upon a Time in Italy: the Westerns of Sergio Leone
Once Upon a Time in the West
One-Eyed Jacks
the Outlaw Josey Wales
the Ox-Bow Incident
Paramount: Wellman, Boetticher
the Propostion
Randolph Scott
Robert Aldrich
the Sabata Trilogy
Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah Legendary Westerns
Scenes That Encapsulate or Epitomize the Western
the Searchers
Sergio Leone
the Sergio Leone Anthology
Sergio Sollima
Silent Borzage
Stagecoach
Thomas H Ince
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
True Grit (2010)
Unforgiven
VCI
Warner Western Classics
William A Wellman

Recommended Books/Articles on Westerns
the American Western (Stephen McVeigh)
the Encyclopedia of Westerns (Herb Fagen)
Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema (Paul Varner)
Horizons West (Jim Kitses)
Once Upon a Time in the Italian West (Howard Hughes)
100 Westerns (Ed Buscombe)
Spaghetti Westerns (Christopher Frayling)
10,000 Ways to Die (Alex Cox) Download here

Resources compiled by ArchCarrier, antnield, domino harvey

::THIS FIRST POST IS A WORK IN PROGRESS::
Last edited by domino harvey on Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:09 am, edited 12 times in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#2 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:04 pm

Perhaps you noticed that no one actually does "swapsies" anymore. Post a title you'd like others to check out and I'll put it in the "Member Spotlight" section. If you have something ace to add to the first post, PM me or post here.

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Tribe
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#3 Post by Tribe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:22 pm

An invaluable resource, focusing on the very important Spaghetti Western prong, is Alex Cox's 10,000 Ways to Die. This is available as a free download from Cox's website.

EDIT: Does anyone think Jodorowsky's El Topo counts as a western?

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knives
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#4 Post by knives » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:32 pm

El Topo is totally a western. Now to decide what meal it is, Enchilada? I wonder if this is an other American genre, not in make, but in setting? The Proposition is the only thing that comes to mind that would break that as a rule. Wonder if period piece is another rule that could be self-enforced.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#5 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:48 pm

Well, North American maybe (plenty of Mexico-set westerns!)

My provisional top four is Man of the West, Stagecoach, Red River, and the Gunfighter and if there are any changes of that between now and next May, I'll be shocked/delighted

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#6 Post by Tribe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:50 pm

Good point about The Proposition, Knives. Man, it sure looks like a western, walks like a western, quacks a like a western.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#7 Post by Tribe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:53 pm

domino harvey wrote:Well, North American maybe (plenty of Mexico-set westerns!)
There are westerns situated in Canada, aren't there? I can't recall any, but I gotta think...
domino harvey wrote:My provisional top four is Man of the West, Stagecoach, Red River, and the Gunfighter and if there are any changes of that between now and next May, I'll be shocked/delighted
I'd daresay at least 8 out of my top 10 were made in Europe.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#8 Post by Murdoch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:56 pm

Winchester '73 is at the moment my favorite western, although that's likely change when I dive into this list. The film is such a delightful concoction of genre conventions thrown together into a surprisingly coherent package, it could get by on charm alone. From the ring-shooting match to the ricocheting bullets of the finale, and Dan Duryea having a hell of a time as the Waco Kid, this is one of the most enjoyable films ever made.

For post-60s westerns the only one that will probably end up on my list is Badlands, which is a sort of tough sell as a western, but I've always seen it as a tale of the last outlaw on the run, a cowboy fleeing the change that has swept through the US since the Industrial Revolution and his inability to adapt to it.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#9 Post by knives » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:01 pm

domino harvey wrote:Well, North American maybe (plenty of Mexico-set westerns!)
Black God, White Devil would like a word with you. Speaking of that potential top tenner is the Mr. Bongo disc any good? My VHS looks like a Godard short. I'm tempted by The Last Supper too, but it really only becomes a western in it's climax. Beyond that it's only the setting that could give it bonafides.
The Period Piece part is actually what interests me most. Does Junior Bonner count for example. If I were to let that one go will Badlands (didn't see your post man) and it's derivatives count.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#10 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:02 pm

Winchester '73 will certainly chart high for me as well. I love how the film is already so much fun and then BAM Dan Duryea shows up in the third act and the whole thing just goes off into the stratosphere. Mann will have a lot of room on my list, as certainly the Naked Spur, with James Stewart's best performance, will comfortably place, with perhaps too the Man From Laramie. I would like to give a special plea for Mann's much-maligned though excellent Edna Ferber adaptation, Cimarron, a wonderfully paced and played epic generational western.

I haven't seen too many foreign-made westerns, but now'd be the time to get after that. And I don't have any biases against foreign-set noirs, set it wherever-- I just spend five hours staring at hundreds of noir titles, gimme a breaksville!
Last edited by domino harvey on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#11 Post by Tribe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:03 pm

knives wrote:The Period Piece part is actually what interests me most. Does Junior Bonner count for example. If I were to let that one go will Badlands (didn't see your post man) and it's derivatives count.
Would Hud also be a candidate?

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#12 Post by zedz » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:42 pm

Seeing as we're already onto genre definitions, a period (or 'mythical') setting is definitely a prerequisite for me (so no Lusty Men or Junior Bonner on my list, much as I love those films), but I'm not so convinced by the requirement of a US setting. There are a lot of westerns that aren't made in the US and aren't explicit about their setting (and isn't El Topo pretty clearly not set in the USA, or any identifiable country?), and a number of US westerns are set largely in Mexico. And I'd like to include The Chehchacos, which is Canadian. I don't yet know whether I'll include Black God, White Devil or Antonio das Mortes within the genre, but if I exclude them it won't be on geographical grounds.

My suck-it-and-see recommendation is Fassbinder's Whity, which you might love for its outrageousness or might just find intensely annoying.

For sheer spectacle, don't miss Walsh's The Big Trail. And since I couldn't convince anybody that his Pursued was a film noir, will you believe me if I tell you it's a western?

And if you haven't worked your way methodically through the Mann / Stewart westerns (and Man of the West) and the Boetticher / Scott ones, you shouldn't bother submitting a list!

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#13 Post by knives » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:51 am

zedz wrote:Seeing as we're already onto genre definitions, a period (or 'mythical') setting is definitely a prerequisite for me (so no Lusty Men or Junior Bonner on my list, much as I love those films)
The reason why I feel that's a slippery slope is that it poses the next question of what period? Drums Along the Mohawk is a period piece, but not in the typical western period (nor setting really, but it has enough story elements to count there). for another Ford example that's not going to get any votes any way Bucking Broadway seems to take place around the same time as The Wild Bunch, maybe a decade of difference, but isn't really a period piece (or much of a western).

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#14 Post by ArchCarrier » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:04 am

I own about 25 westerns on DVD, from Red River to The Assassination of Jesse James, and I can't have seen more than thirty in my life. The next few months will surely become very educational :)

So while I'm obviously no expert, I have always felt that the idea of the frontier is essential to the genre. For me a western has to be set in the no man's land between civilisation and the wilderness, or between culture and nature. That's why I can't imagine any westerns set in the big city.

As for books, I'm reading The American Western by Stephen McVeigh at the moment, and it is a very nice introduction to the Western mythology, in real life (Theodore Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill), literature and film.
Also recommended are the reference works The Encyclopedia of Westerns (Herb Fagen, 2003) and Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema (Paul Varner, 2008).
The double CD Western Film Themes: The Essential Album is a good way to get in the mood for this project. (I'm listening to it now.)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#15 Post by antnield » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:45 am

Some reading suggestions:

100 Westerns BFI Screen Guide by Ed Buscombe (who also has excellent monographs on Stagecoach, The Searchers and Unforgiven out there). This serves as an excellent primer and an overview of the genre - and note that he includes both Black God, White Devil and El Topo amongst his selections.

Horizons West by Jim Kitses. (Kitses also co-edited The Western Reader, though I haven't read this one so cannot comment as to its qualities or lack thereof.)

Spaghetti Westerns by Christopher Frayling, who also authored the Leone biography Something To Do With Death.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#16 Post by Cold Bishop » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:52 am

HEAVEN'S GATE!

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#17 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:17 am

When I hear the word 'Western' I reach for my (mythical) gun. As a kid I took cover behind the sofa and cocked finger and thumb at James Stewart et al and so a knee jerk reaction conjures up whooping injuns, circling of wagons, shooty shouty stuff and important-riding along ridges and(natch) into sunsets. So where does that leave me with my favourites Alfredo Garcia and McCabe and Mrs Miller? Out in the margins of non-generic limbo or settling around the fire eating beans with fellow renegades?

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#18 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:06 am

Zazou dans le Metro wrote: Out in the margins of non-generic limbo or settling around the fire eating beans with fellow renegades?
That last sentence sure thrust Blazing Saddles into my brain.

I never bothered much with Westerns.
Until about 2 or 3 years ago I started watching lots of classics and really enjoyed myself.
Now I'll have to see if my memory is good enough to scratch out a list, or if I have the time/energy required to dig them all out and re-watch.
Actually I assume this will be like the Noir Project where I just don't have access to enough films to make a list.

Last good Western I saw was probably Day of the Outlaw (1959) a pretty gritty snowbound sexualized Western from Andre de Toth. Well worth seeing.
The Dvd was some French edition. Be happy to hear recs for other de Toth Westerns.
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#19 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:48 pm

I'll second zedz's recommendation of Whity (if just for the jaunty title track!), and would add in the goofily perverse (until it becomes violently painful) Django, Kill!; the unwieldy and deeply structurally flawed yet fascinating Major Dundee (ignore the shoehorned in Santa Berger romance stuff and enjoy Charlton Heston's best performance!); and especially Johnny Guitar (ignore the shoehorned in Sterling Hayden romance stuff and enjoy the flaming hot action between Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge that sends even Ernest Borgnine running for cover!) as my 'offbeat Western' choices.

In terms of 'normal Westerns' I'm quite fond (and glad to see domino seems to be a fan too!) of The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck, and its cyclical take on the possibility of redemption/retirement versus the pull of the outlaw mystique.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#20 Post by Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:06 pm

I include Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian...once it gets made into a movie.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#21 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:22 pm

Murdoch wrote:For post-60s westerns the only one that will probably end up on my list is Badlands, which is a sort of tough sell as a western. . .
I'll say! Are you also going to be including Bonnie and Clyde, Gun Crazy, They Live By Night, Boxcar Bertha and Public Enemies, because I see those as its close cousins, genre-wise.

Personally, I can't imagine any film that includes a car chase set piece being reasonably considered a western. You can get one car in there, as a wacky novelty (e.g. Cable Hogue), but no more. Alfredo Garcia is another open-and-shut non-western too, for all that it riffs off the conventions of the western, and Peckinpah's specific version of it. But then, so does The Getaway and (eek!) Convoy.

And let me once again cheerlead for The Hired Hand, which will be vying with The Shooting as my top post-classic western.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#22 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:27 pm

zedz wrote:Alfredo Garcia is another open-and-shut non-western too, for all that it riffs off the conventions of the western
That's no beans for you then zedz and you can warm your bum at someone else's fire

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knives
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#23 Post by knives » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:31 pm

zedz wrote: And let me once again cheerlead for The Hired Hand, which will be vying with The Shooting as my top post-classic western.
Do you, or anybody else, know if the American disc is a safe bet AR wise at least for The Hired Hand?

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#24 Post by PillowRock » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:43 pm

knives wrote:
zedz wrote:Seeing as we're already onto genre definitions, a period (or 'mythical') setting is definitely a prerequisite for me (so no Lusty Men or Junior Bonner on my list, much as I love those films)
The reason why I feel that's a slippery slope is that it poses the next question of what period? Drums Along the Mohawk is a period piece, but not in the typical western period (nor setting really, but it has enough story elements to count there).
Well, historically the common usage definition of "the West" moved as we moved through time, staying around the area of the contemporary "frontier" (a concept mentioned earlier in the thread). So, just to grab an example, The Last of the Mohicans *feels* entirely like a "Western" to me, even though the geographic setting is one which would count as "back East" by the time period when most "typical" Westerns were set.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#25 Post by tojoed » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:59 pm

The Return of a Man Called Horse will be my swapsie or suggestion.

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