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How The Western Film Genre Has Developed Over The Past Century

2069 words - 8 pages

The Western film genre is typically set in a secluded village in the middle of the desert, normally in the American West. The setting includes wooden buildings, tumble weed, cacti, trains, horses and carriages. The storyline for western films is usually the same, namely, a hero travels to a remote village, usually on a horse, and brings peace to the warring villagers.

In a traditional Western film the clothing for the hero is usually a white hat, (this is to show purity). The hero would also wear a brightly coloured shirt , a pair of jeans and cowboy boots with spurs on the back of them. The hero is also very clean and also normally tall and good looking. A traditional Western includes things like white settlers living in a town and a white hero fights white baddies and usually the hero wins. In a traditional western the Native Americans attack the towns where religious and peaceful people live. This makes the Native Americans look like bad people and the whites as good people.

The first Western film ever made was called ‘The Great Train Robbery‘. It was made by ‘The Lumiere Brothers’ in 1903.This film was a high quality film, because they used some panning with the camera. This was unusual in its time because the cameras that they had, had to be put on a fixed point because they were too heavy to lift. This meant that they couldn’t move in for close-ups. Consequently it made it harder for the audience to understand the characters feelings and to understand the storyline. If the camera can move in on the villain when he is plotting something or pulling a gun out ready for a fight it is much easier for the audience to follow. ’The Great Train Robbery’ was a simple one-reeler action picture, about 10 minutes long, with 14-scenes.

Film technology developed very quickly during the 1930s and the 1950s, this was because the quality of the films such as camera shots, sound and dialogue just got better and better. The first film that showed early signs of a rise in the quality of technology was the Western “The Great Train Robbery.” When this film first came out the audience were so amazed at the fact that they could watch something on a TV or at the cinema. Although this film was very good for the 1900s it still lacked some key features that make films much easier to understand such as dialogue, sound and camera shots. The one feature of a film that developed the quickest over the period of time was sound. Sound was introduced in October 1927 in the film “The Jazz singer”, which had three song numbers and a few lines of spoken dialogue. Apart from these few songs and words, the rest of the movie was silent, but the audience still thought that it was amazing that words had been spoken in the film, they used to call it “the movie that talked”.

The Western became one of the most popular film genres between the 1930s and the 1950s because of theses advances in technology. The development of smaller, lighter cameras freed the cameras...

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