An Introduction to the Western Genre

I hope to use this blog to help me conduct research into the Western Genre, a particular area of film which I have always enjoyed and have always been interested in. One particular Western which has caught my attention, has been “Stagecoach” (1939, John Ford) since this film was considered to be the film which shot actor John Wayne to stardom, 71 years ago. After watching this film for the first time, I noticed that the stereotypical characteristics of Director, John Ford, were clearly visible in this film. John Ford’s passion for filming in vast open landscapes such as ‘Monument Valley’ Utah, USA (the first of seven Ford classics to be filmed in this location), to reflect his character’s own wandering personalities and need to find a sense of community, are clearly shown throughout “Stagecoach”.

“Monument Valley”, Utah, USA – An inspirational location for Director, John Ford


I also find Ford’s use of actor, John Wayne throughout his Western films very interesting; and something which I would also be interested in studying as part of my research. In order to study this, I would like to take one John Ford film from each decade; 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, etc; and then look at each one individually and as a group respectively.

Something which I am particularly interested in however, is the way that the Western Genre appears to have changed over time. A highly successful film such as “Stagecoach” for example, clearly differs from a more modern Western, such as “No Country for Old Men” (2007, Joel & Ethan Coen) and would be something which may interest me when conducting research.

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