The Westerns of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott: A Film Primer

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I am a latecomer to the six Westerns that make-up the collaboration between Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott. (There is a seventh, but I’ll do them the courtesy of pretending it doesn’t exist). These six films, released over the course of just five years between 1956 and 1960, mark…

By James Curnow
Django Spaghetti Westerns

Ten Great Spaghetti Westerns NOT directed by Sergio Leone

For most people, the term Spaghetti Western applies almost solely to the films of Sergio Leone, particularly those starring Clint Eastwood. But the reality is that close to 600 Westerns were produced in Europe between 1960 and 1980, and during it’s peak, Italy was churning out more than 40 Spaghetti Westerns a year. Of course,…

By James Curnow
Mad Max

Mad Max and the Man With No Name

In many ways, it’s entirely appropriate to describe George Miller’s original Mad Max trilogy as Australia’s equivalent to Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns are innovative reworkings of the American Western that permanently changed the landscape of the genre. But Leone’s films were also a surprising and positive result of an Italian industry largely…

By James Curnow
Clint Eastwood Unforgiven

Clint Eastwood and the Western: A Film Primer

There are few figures quite as representative of American ideals of masculinity as Clint Eastwood. Since starring in Sergio Leone’s genre-perforating Western classic, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), Eastwood’s career has largely been about the representation – and later the deconstruction – of what it means to be a man.  This was, initially, a trajectory set…

By James Curnow
western true grit

Elegy for the western: A plea for its comeback

Someone needs to resurrect the western. It’s either dead or dying now, and little is being done to give it life – True Grit (2010) notwithstanding. There was a time back in the 1980s when the paucity of films in the category, save the intermittent flick such as Silverado (1985) and Pale Rider (1985), spoke…

By Simon Hardy Butler