Sunday, 23 June 2013

Western / Cowboy Film Posters - part 1


1918 Cupid's Round Up
From Wikipedia:

The American Film Institute defines Western films as those "set in the American West that embody the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier.” The term Western, used to describe a narrative film genre, appears to have originated with a July 1912 article in Motion Picture World Magazine. Most of the characteristics of Western films were part of 19th century popular Western fiction and were firmly in place before film became a popular art form. Western films commonly feature as their protagonists stock characters such as cowboys, gunslingers, and bounty hunters, often depicted as semi-nomadic wanderers who wear Stetson hats, bandannas, spurs, and buckskins, use revolvers or rifles as everyday tools of survival, and ride between dusty towns and cattle ranches on trusty steeds.

Western films were enormously popular in the silent era. However, with the advent of sound in 1927-28 the major Hollywood studios rapidly abandoned Westerns, leaving the genre to smaller studios and producers, who churned out countless low-budget features and serials in the 1930s. By the late 1930s the Western film was widely regarded as a 'pulp' genre in Hollywood, but its popularity was dramatically revived in 1939 by such major studio productions as Dodge City starring Errol Flynn,  Jesse James with Tyrone Power in the title role, Union Pacific with Joel McCrea, Destry Rides Again featuring James Stewart in his first western, supported by Marlene Dietrich, and perhaps most notably, the release of John Ford's landmark Western adventure Stagecoach, which became one of the biggest hits of the year released though United Artists, and made John Wayne a mainstream screen star in the wake of a decade of headlining B westerns.

Early Westerns were mostly filmed in the studio, just like other early Hollywood films, but when location shooting became more common from the 1930s, producers of Westerns used desolate corners of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, or Wyoming. Productions were also filmed on location at movie ranches.

Often, the vast landscape becomes more than a vivid backdrop; it becomes a character in the film. After the early 1950s, various wide screen formats such as cinemascope (1953) and VistaVision used the expanded width of the screen to display spectacular Western landscapes. John Ford’s use of Monument Valley as an expressive landscape in his films from Stagecoach to Cheyenne Autumn "present us with a mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West, embodied most memorably in Monument Valley, with its buttes and mesas that tower above the men on horseback, whether they be settlers, soldiers, or Native Americans".

This is part 1 of a 2-part post on Western / Cowboy film posters:

1919 A Debtor to the Law

1919 A Debtor to the Law

1919 When a Woman Strikes

1923 The Covered Wagon

1924 "The Passing of Wolf MacLean"

1925 "The Cowboy Musketeer"

1926 The Great K & A Train Robbery

1926 War Paint

1928 King Cowboy

1928 King Cowboy

1928 The Wagon Show

1928 Under the Tonto Rim

1929 Outlawed

1930 "The Dawn Trail"

1931 "Border Law"

1931 Desert Vengeance

1932 "Texas Cyclone"

1932 "Destry Rides Again"

1932 "The Fighting Fool"

1933 "Man of Action"

1933 Riders of Destiny

1933 "Sagebrush Trail"

1933 "Diamond Trail"

1933 The Telegraph Trail

1933 "Unknown Valley"

1934 "Blue Steel"

1934 "Randy Rides Alone"

1934 "Randy Rides Alone"

1934 "Terror of the Plains"

1934 "The Man from Utah"

1934 "The Star Packer"

1934 "The Trail Beyond"

1934 "West of the Divide"

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