Westerns And Film Noir- How They Represent American Culture

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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The Western is one of the most popular genres in American society. The first western, "The great train robbery", represented American society at a time when there was a lot of conflict between certain groups in America, and this is portrayed through the film.

The Western genre started with classic Westerns, then evolved to Spaghetti westerns and are now made contempary westerns.

The classic western is recognisable though the ways violence was represented. To start with when a gun is fired, it cant show the person being killed in the same shot, so it must cut to a new shot. The costume isw another recognisable characteristic, along with the imagery used. The imagery is very important, as thjis often portrays what is important to the American society. For example, quite often you will see a church in the background, which represents the importance of religion in the american society.

The spaghetti western got its name due to the fact that they were mostly produced by Italians (e.g:sergio Leone), but funded by Americans, Germans, Spanish and others. Examples include A fistful of dollars, for a few dolars more, etc.

A contempory western whicvh really broke the boundaries and de-constructed the western genre was "Unforgiven" (1992). In "unforgiven" violence is shown for what it really is, a human urge. Violence isn't shown as being good, or helping with anything.

"Falling down" is a good neo-noire to look at to see how American society is represented. "Falling down" looks at the way an average American bussiness man falls apart, during a traffic jam, and leaves his car to resort to violence on the streets of America. Whast is first noticable is that it isn't long before he is subjected to violence, and he himself resorts to violence to resolve a situation.



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