Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Musical Scores from "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

Saturday, 28 March 2009

"The Outlaw Josey Wales" form Shooting Down Pictures

This is an excellent website for detailed information on this key film.

Here is brief commentary on Eastwood, his star image and his work as a director. There is also a list of interviews, articles and books for detailed research on the man and his work.

A Video Essay on "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and Clint Eastwood by Matt Zoller Seitz

Matt Zoller Seitz makes several interesting points and reveals valuable insights in his video essay on Clint Eastwood's 1976 western, "The Outlaw Josey Wales".

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

"Stagecoach" and approaching the western either through genre or through Ford as an Auteur (Concept Map)

Click on the image to enlarge.
What's missing from this graphic is the big macro features on narrative. When analysing Western for its genre we will need to consider narrative structure and plots, etc. Studies would also benefit from nexamination of key scenes which will allow a fruitful discussion of Macro features of the genre as well as the auteurs' treatment of them and their view of America at a given point in time.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A brief essay on John Ford's "Stagecoach" from "30 Great Westerns" by Images Journal

A publicity photo from "Stagecoach" with George Bancroft, John Wayne and Claire Trevor.
Here's an insightful analysis of John Ford's "Stagecoach" from Images journal's "30 Great Westerns".

Once there click on the film's title near the top of the left column.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Filmmaking from the initial idea to exhibition

This site offers the perfect revision tool for understanding each stage of the filmmaking process and applying these stages with their key terms to your exam case studies.

When you get there click through images to get to new sets of images with key terms and explanations.
The Business - Understanding Filmmaking

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A detailed review of the DVD of "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

Click on the image to enlarge

This essay with helpful images should prove useful for a deeper understanding of this ground-breaking western from 1976; in particular how Eastwood created new conventions that were afterwards imitated by later westerns. The themes of revenge, masculinity and violence are also worth focussing on in this post. Clint Eastwood as an auteur is also present in the technical aspects of the film as well as in its vignettes, female and native indian characters. As with John Ford humor is also an important feature in Eastwood's films.

The Revisionist Western


A leading example

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Propaganda and American Values in "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" ( 1949 ) by John Ford

"Propaganda and American Values in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"
by Laurel Westbrook

Westbrook's insightful essay examines the message of "unity" in the film at the time the film was made (1949), when American leaders feared the further encroachments of communism around the world. China had its communist revolution and Russia had developed its own atomic bomb. Westbrook also examines why the American values of "independence", "manliness" and "intelligence" are present in Ford's film and why these attributes still persist in Hollywood films several decades afterwards.

Perhaps someone may write about the representation of women in this and other westerns by Ford at a later date?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

"How did auteurs develop after the studio system? And how have they contributed to the cinema of today?"

An academic article on how a director might be known as "an auteur",  focusing on Stanley Kubrick as its main example.

The Construction and Meaning of Stardom

The construction of stardom
Find several images of a film star to help with some of the questions below. This link should prove useful.
Consider the various ways in which stars are represented in different media settings for age, class, sex and gender. Consider the messages and meanings that audiences would be expected to get from these images.

Key questions to think about and brainstorm

What does it mean to be a film star?

How do star images create meaning in films for film audiences? (In the US and UK?)
Can we distinguish between different types of stardom?

How does film stardom relate to a more general celebrity culture?

How is stardom in its various guises connected socially to the world of economics, politics, technology or culture?

Anyone interested in developing their understanding of this topic  should read Sofia Johansson's editorial from Westminster University. She gives an overview of the work of academics going back four decades and their varying perspective on stardom and celebrity culture.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

How to study film trailers

The main questions to ask of any trailer should be as follows:

What type of trailer is it?
1. A teaser?
2. Theatrical trailer?
3. A TV spot advertising the film on release?

What is the film's USP? ( Its unique selling point?) In other words how are the distributors positioning the film in the marketplace? Which elements in the film's genre is the distributor highlighting which sets the film aside from other films in its genre.

What are the messages in the film's trailer and what do they say about the film?

Remember that the type of release ( wide, limited, universal ) and the date of release will have been carefully planned to maximise potential audiences.

In the media studies and film studies exams all you need to do is be able to write a paragraph or two on the posters and trailers of your case study production company's film so you can argue how the distributors tried to market the film.

Here's a good link to practice with film trailers for films currently on release.

The link to Frank Baker probably has more than most students would need.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Are we entering another golden age of British cinema?

Unfortunately, British success at the Oscars and a competitive exchange rate are not the only criteria that will determine whether the British film industry will see another golden age. The deepest recession since the Second World War and the huge difficulties British film-makers face financing and distributing films in their own country means it is still very much an uphill struggle.

Read the article below as it may prove useful when comparing the British film industry with Hollywood in the exam.

Now watch this. The second part is particularly relevant for understanding the ups and downs of the British film industry.

Is there a future for British Film?

Two important articles that should be read by AS Film students for the FM2 Exam. Both are useful because they examine the current state of the British film industry. The first article considers whether British film has "a future" and the second includes helpful statistics on on British cinema-going, including which films were most popular with UK audiences.

Is there a future for British Film?

Cinema audiences soar with 164 million admissions in Britain

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

An overview of The Western genre

Read Gary Johnson's excellent seven page overview of The Western from the online magazine, Imagesjournal. As you read jot down some of the article's key points so you can use them later when examining how John Ford's "Stagecoach" fits within conventions of the Western genre. It's important that you make your reading active by noting down important ideas and concepts from key paragraphs and also writing down questions of your own that you might wish to clarify by investigating further.

Don't rely on Internet research only. Remember hard copy magazines and books. An old tutor of mine, Brian Spittles, wrote a book on John Ford. It's called "John Ford (On Directors)". It would pay to see if your local library could find and lend this to you. Then focus on genre and John Ford as an auteur in "Stagecoach".
"Stylistically Ford was instrumental in developing new camera techniques, atmospheric lighting and diverse narrative devices. Thematically, long before it became conventional wisdom, Ford was exploring issues that concern us today, such as gender, race, the treatment of ethnic minorities and social outcasts, the nature of history and the relationship of myth and reality. For all these reasons, John Ford the man and his films reward thought and study, both for the general reader and the academic student. Ford's pictures express the world in which they were made, and have contributed to making what Hollywood is today. "

FS6, Section C - Notes, articles and essays on John Ford's "Stagecoach"

"My name is John Ford.  I am a director of westerns." 

This was Ford's much misquoted self-introduction to a meeting of the Director's Guild in October 1950. Ford has his reasons for stating this. He said it in the eye of the political storm provoked by Senator McCarthy and his HUAC hearings against suspected communists and their liberal sympathisers. As a "director of westerns" he was probably placing himself beyond reproach by identifying himself with such a deeply patriotic American genre; a genre which focused on frontier and foundation myths embedded in what it then meant to be an American. The truth is around 60% of Ford's films were made in other genres. He simply made more westerns than films in other genres.

Use your knowledge of the other films that you have studied by Ford to consider John Ford as an the auteur of "Stagecoach".

Focus on Ford as "a maker of the western": his themes, motifs and stylistic traits that places Ford's stamp on this film. His fondness for using particular actors including John Wayne. His film as a representation of America and its ideological discourses on American life. His auteurial signatures of humour and the repeated backdrop of Monument Valley.

There are several valuable essays on Ford's film on the PDF file from the link below. They should prove useful for studying the western as a genre and for Ford as an auteur.

A summary of the film and its characters.
An earlier post of mine on the characters and their "types" in "Stagecoach"

An Auteur project with notes and links

An in-depth overview which touches on Ford's style from Senses of Cinema.

"John Ford Made Westerns:
Filming the Legend in the Sound Era" from Senses of Cinema

An analysis of "Stagecoach"

Another fascinating analysis of the film which focuses on its music. Remember to click to page two at the bottom of its page one.