Carry On, Cowboy: roast beef Westerns

HALL, Sheldon (2012). Carry On, Cowboy: roast beef Westerns. Iluminace: Journal of Film History, Theory, and Aesthetics, 24 (3), p. 102.

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Most critical discussions of non-American Westerns have centred on films by Italian and German filmmakers, such as Sergio Leone and Harald Reinl. There has, however, been little attention paid to the Westerns produced by British companies and British-based filmmakers. They are surprisingly numerous, with a particular concentration in the silent period (though most of the films are now lost) and in the heyday of the European-shot Western in the 1960s and 1970s. This article will focus on the latter, and will attempt to explore the commercial and industrial factors which led British and British-based producers such as Michael Winner, Euan Lloyd, Irving Allen and Charles H. Schneer to undertake a genre which is not typically associated with UK production houses. The particular characteristics of the British-made Western will be identified with the analysis of a small selection of the more than thirty examples from the period, and an attempt will be made to account for their relative neglect by critics and historians. The films themselves are, like the Italian and German varieties, most often co-productions with one or more other countries and are rarely recognisably “British”, hence do not lend themselves to the discussion of national identity which characterises much critical discourse on British and European cinema. One other reason for their neglect, it will be argued, is their generally poor quality and failure to produce a distinct group style or identity or an “auteur” director specialising in the form. In this respect the article will broach questions of artistic value and critical judgment that are themselves often neglected in recent explorations of generic and national cinemas, and will discuss to what extent they should be admitted into historical and industrial accounts of film production and reception.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: From themed issue - Industrial Trends: Genre And the Movie Business (Guest Editor: Richard Nowell)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Page Range: p. 102
Depositing User: Sheldon Hall
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 16:24
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:21

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