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William Wellman’s Westward the Women

This post is part of The William Wellman Blogathon, hosted by Liz at Now Voyaging. Find the rest of the posts for this event HERE!

Since I was a little girl, I have loved Westerns. But even back then, I couldn’t help noticing one thing:

The general lack of women in most Western movies.

Sure, there would be the rancher’s wife, or the schoolmarm, or the dance hall girl (when I got older, I would learn they were actually prostitutes). But . . . it was pretty rare that women got a substantial role in a Western, which really bummed me out.

Over time, I was happy to find some exceptions to the rule. Recently, I reviewed one of my favorites: The Furies, directed by Anthony Mann, which stars Barbara Stanwyck. Three more of my favorites just happen to be helmed by William Wellman: Yellow Sky, The Great Man’s Lady, and Westward the Women.

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Miriam Hopkins as the Anti-Scarlett: Virginia City (1940)

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This post is part of the Miriam Hopkins Blogathon, hosted by Silver Screenings and A Small Press Life/Font & Fock. Click HERE for a list of all participants.

SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR VIRGINIA CITY.

When this blogathon was announced, people jumped in right away and grabbed up Miriam Hopkins’ best-known films. Even though the rules of the event said duplicates were O.K., I wanted to pick a film a bit outside the box.

When I looked up the 1940 Western Virginia City, I found out Miriam’s co-stars were Errol Flynn and Randolph Scott, and the movie was directed by Michael Curtiz. As a huge fan of Westerns all my life, I couldn’t believe this one had never found its way onto my radar. So I chose it as my topic.

I was a little concerned, though. With two power-house male stars, I was afraid Miriam was consigned to the role of The Girl the Men Fight Over, with a minimal impact on the film’s story.

I’m happy to report that’s not the case at all.

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O Canada Blogathon: The Grey Fox (1982)

greyfoxposterThis post is part of the O Canada Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy.

When Kristina and Ruth first announced a blogathon devoted to Canadian film, my initial thought was “The Grey Fox.” This revisionist Western, starring Richard Farnsworth and based on the real-life outlaw Bill Miner, is one of my favorites of the genre.

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8 Reasons Why Hollywood Should Have Shelved The Lone Ranger Movie

(SIDENOTE: This week is my one-year Blogversary! WordPress informed me on July 1 that I have had this blog for one year, but that was the day I signed up for a blog. My first blog post appeared on July 8, 2012. Thanks to all who have stopped by over the past year!) What does it mean to “shelve” a movie? That’s Hollywood-speak for a project that’s put aside, usually for good, at some point in the development stage. The Lone Ranger, which opened this week, was almost shelved because of its projected $250 million budget. The studio was convinced … Continue reading 8 Reasons Why Hollywood Should Have Shelved The Lone Ranger Movie

The Western Is Not Dead–It’s Just Asleep

Over on one of my favorite web sites, io9, there was a recent article by Charlie Jane Anders about the failure of many sci-fi-fantasy/Western genre mash-ups to gain large audiences. She argued that the reason is the Western is a “moribund” genre—i.e., basically dead. Well, them’s fightin’ words where I come from, pardner—er, I mean, I disagree with that. First of all, there is no such thing as a dead genre—things go in cycles. Westerns were so popular for such a long time that it was inevitable that they would, well, kind of go to sleep for a while. The … Continue reading The Western Is Not Dead–It’s Just Asleep

5 Ways Writing Fan-Fiction Made Me A Better Writer

Come on, admit it, writers–at one time or another, you’ve written some fan-fiction. O.K., maybe you haven’t, but I bet you at least thought about it at one time or another It’s something that’s difficult to confess to. I was actually a bit hesitant about writing this post, until I saw an article by Peter Damian called Testifying For Fan-Fiction. It made me think, why are we so ashamed of it? Especially when, in many ways, I found it a valuable experience. I never wrote Star Wars or Star Trek fan-fic (though I am a fan of both) or for … Continue reading 5 Ways Writing Fan-Fiction Made Me A Better Writer