Saturday 1 March 2008

Cowboy Movies

Every time I change the channel there is a 'Cowboy Film' showing! For a while all I was finding was yet another episode of 'Friends,' and who watches that anyway? Women of a certain age I would guess. But Cowboy films? Who watches them these days? They are all the same, follow the same script and have as much relation to the actual American West as I have to a nuclear scientist!

Now when I was a kid I loved 'Wagon Train' on the telly, but I was only five or six when I came across it and since then I have watched several million 'westerns' and discovered just how unrealistic - and boring they are! if they are not firing 'six shooters' which appear to contain five hundred rounds, they are fighting bad men who want to steal their ranch. Always and ever there is a woman, usually one who is extremely well proportioned for a lass chasing cattle around a ranch hundreds of miles in size. Their hair never appears out of place which must be a miracle in such circumstances. Of course there will be a scene in which they cross the river, Indians fall off horses when shot by a 'six shooter' at a hundred yards range, and there is always a fight between the hero and the baddie. No one ever gets fingers in the eyes or kicked in the cobs during such actions, every thing is done fair and square - and a nasty man is always punched hard enough to fall over the bar and break the mirror!

Dross! Unmitigated dross!

John Wayne made a name for himself masquerading as what some call the 'All American hero,' and we call a complete doughnut! You may recall John Fords answer when asked 'How did you make Wayne a star?' He said, 'I give him as few words as possible!' No wonder. Yet his image has made him the 'typical' cowboy, and he was nothing like the real thing. He also played the war hero, spending his time film making in Hollywood when others were fighting Germans and Japanese. Jimmy Stewart flew a bomber over Germany on at least a dozen missions, John Wayne made poor quality films and became a star.

The Buffalo Bill Circus at the turn of the century went a long way to create the myth of the west that was encouraged by the silent movies of the day. Tom Mix and others developed this story line in spite of the facts being available to them, if they cared to look. But I suppose reality in movies would make them either too boring or too awful to show to the public. So we get the 'bread and Circuses' from Hollywood instead. Ignore facts and give the people cut down, bland or distorted truths as it is easier to cope with. But please stop showing this rubbish on telly after the kids programmes have finished!


Mike Smith said...

I remember Sunday afternoons as a kid. Trying to get over another woeful Hearts performance from the day before (some things never change) My mother's rice pudding. And Bonanza on the telly!

I'm not old enough to remember Wagon Train....

Gerry Hatrić said...

I watched a Western the other day on TV with John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn, can't remember what it was called, but it was very sweet. And of course The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is a top movie IMHO. So Bah, Humbug!

Helen said...

Westerns? Bonanza? rice pudding? oh the nostaligia...
I suffered my father's passion for all things "western" for years; so when i discovered "Deadwood" i could hardly believe what i was seeing - some of the grittiest, violent, badmouthing TV i have ever seen, and I'm sure a rather more accurate portrayal of the "wild west". It's superb!
What a shame my Dad is no longer alive to see it.
Or would he have preferred the John Wayne version - I'd love to know!