|Monica 4, Santa Monica, California|
The current list of available westerns is longer than we’ll have time to watch them. So I’m listing them here and asking for some help to pick the best combination of them.
The students are freshmen, 18-19 years old, who have mostly never seen westerns. The last big one, 3:10 to Yuma (2007), was already long enough ago that most of them won’t know it. (At that age, they really are born yesterday.)
From having taught the course before, I know that the genre is a big surprise to them. The biggest surprise is that they actually like westerns, even the “old” ones. They discover that westerns deal with ideas about heroism, relationships, codes of behavior, and ethical issues, and they offer different interpretations of those ideas.
Anyway, as I prepare for the course, I’ve got to make up my mind soon about what I’ll be asking them to see. Here is the list of 18 that are currently available. If you had to cut that list down to ten, what would you want absolutely to keep?
3:10 to Yuma (original version)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Lonesome Dove (six hours long! counts as two)
Broken Arrow (James Stewart)
Hombre (Paul Newman)
Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood)
The True Story of Jesse James (Robert Wagner)
Yellow Sky (Gregory Peck)
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Jason Robards)
The Scalphunters (Burt Lancaster)
Tribute to a Bad Man (James Cagney)
The Return of Frank James (Henry Fonda)
Wyatt Earp (Kevin Costner)
River of No Return (Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe)
The Last Sunset (Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas)
Four Faces West (Joel McCrae)
Feel free to ask all your friends to help!
Picture credit: wikimedia.org