Film and Media: the Western

29Jan 2022 by

Each essay question should be addressed with 3-5 paragraphs. Please identify the significance of each term and essay question in relation to the Western. Be sure to use examples from the films and refer to the
readings. Please be sure to cite pages and scenes where relevant. You are welcome to quote, but
be sure to contextualize and explain: do not use quotes as substitutes for your own perspective,
interpretation, or analysis. A strong definition/response should be comprehensive; likewise,
a minimal definition/explanation will be satisfactory, at best. Hence, please provide rich, detailed
definitions and responses.

1) What are the main conventions of the Western?
2) What effect did World War II have on the Western? Why?
3) What is ‘Western’ about the OC? What are the OC’s ‘Western’ characteristics?
4) How does the Western depict different people, cultures, countries, and regions?
5) What are the differences between a Classical Western and a Superwestern? Why does it
6) Are Western films sexist? How do they represent gender?
7) What is unique or distinct about the Western mise en scene? How is it integrated with the
Western narrative?

1) What makes High Noon so ‘liberal’ or ‘leftist’? Or is it?
2) What are some common character types shared by Hell or High Water and Stagecoach?
What do their differences tell us about the two films?
3) In Stagecoach and Hell or High Water, what is the significance of banks? How are they
portrayed and why?
4) Do the moral situations and portrayals in High Noon correspond more with the Classical
Western or more ‘modern’ Westerns? How so?
5) What is example of gender fixity in our films to date? What is an example of gender
fluidity? How/Why are they significant?

Movie Hell or High Water:
Gustavo Arellano, “Will OC Bump the Duke?” :
Katherine Roberts, “Continental Divide: A Western State of Mind,” :
Todd Gitlin, “Race for President Builds Characters,” :

Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939) 1h 39m :
André Bazin, “The Evolution of the Western,” (Links to an external site.) (LINKED) in What is Cinema? Volume II: Essays Selected and Translated by Hugh Gray (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), pp. 149–157 only; pp. 140–148 are recommended.:
High Noon :
Howard Suber, “High Noon,” :
Richard Combs, “Retrospective: High Noon,” :
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance :
Will Wright, “The Transition Theme” and “Groups and Techniques: The Professional Plot,” :
Johnny Guitar :
Jennifer Peterson, “The Competing Tunes of Johnny Guitar: Liberalism, Sexuality, and Masquerade,” :