View Full Version : Western movies WI
March 12th, 2004, 08:04 AM
Thruout the hist of the film industry, Hollywood's Western movies depicted the nature of the American frontier in stereotypical black-and-white terms, with generally the white settlers always the good guys, and Indians (together with Mexicans) as vicious bloodthirsty baddies, or alternatively native American 'noble savages' (like the Lone Ranger's Tonto) which set the perceptions of the majority of ppl towards what happened in the West and what native Americans were like. It wasn't until the early 1990s, with DANCES WITH WOLVES and LAST OF THE MOHICANS, that Hollywood's depiction of the frontier and American Indians began to change, with native Americans not typecast exclusively as the savages, and with their characters and perspectives dealt with in-depth and sympathetically instead of being totally dismissed as in the past.
WI Hollywood had somehow attempted to make less stereotypical Westerns earlier ? How would Americans' perception of hist have been affected for the better ? I just read an account of how director Thomas Ince and 1 native American actor whose name I can't recall right now, but whom I believe was a Sioux (and who ha toured with Buffalo Bill Cody) were intending to make 'real' Indian movies during the 1920s, but this never eventuated. WI Ince and his native American friend had actually managed to make such 'authentic' Western movies conveying the Indian POV, at that point in time ?
March 13th, 2004, 12:47 AM
Little Big Man was in 1970.
There was also Broken Arrow and The War Wagon in the 50's or early 60's. The second depicted an Indian as an assimilated white man and his tribe as oppressed, poor and hungry, not savages.
But yes, still damnably few out of hundreds.
Sitting Bull himself was in Buffalo Bill's for a little while but he left and was dead long before the 1920's. Could it have been Tom Mix? who was a real cowboy.
Interesting, because what writers could you have put on it? My knowledge of 20thc lit hist is terrible. Jack London comes to mind as perfect but he died in 1916. Scott Fitzgerald?? but did he even write that kind of stuff at all?? Hemingway, maybe??
Or would any self-respecting writer do Westerns?? Under the Roosevelt Regulations, the Hays Board and the Studio System weren't they just pro-American propaganda that no respectable writer would touch and wasn't that why they got such a bad rep. Its possible there was considerable pressure to produce pro-Indian stuff but Louis B, Zukov etc never called back.
Would it make any difference to the Native Americans? The main impact would come in the 20's and 30's at first and at least in the 30's times were tough all over. The prejudice against Amerinds was also different in nature from that against Blacks in that Amerinds were able to assimilate much more easily since most could "pass" so their problems were not quite the same. Even so, the American Indian Movement, once it got started, was one of the most militant around. Their impact on the earlier Black Groups like SCLC, SNCC, the Panthers etc. might have been quite interesting if they had developed earlier.
March 13th, 2004, 01:43 AM
prejudice against Amerinds was also different in nature from that against Blacks in that Amerinds were able to assimilate much more easily since most could "pass" so their problems were not quite the same
Well if you consider slavery, extermination, and being thrown off your land better than the way blacks were treated. But then again if you come from a place where natives are thin on the ground, you say, oh they're treated good here why not everywhere, but where they are a larger pop, they were and are still treated as crappy as any black guy in the south. though most mistake us for mexicans and insult us for looking like that. brown is brown in their book it seems.
I always find it amusing how black people moan and cry about how they were enslaved, yet not many natives moan and cry about how they were nearly exterminated, how they were crushed and made to become white, those hurts and angers are still there but not as vocal. as for the AIM they just don't trust the White Man (strangely this includes blacks too).
but anyway, if movies tried to depict natives as being human and not your sterotypical raiding savage bent to taking the wagons and raping the white women, then nothing would have changed. They'd still be considered as the sterotype, its already too much in the american culture already. everyone believes we all live in tepes, wear feathered headdresses, and buckskins.
plus there were still alot of bad blood in the land, especially in the southwest, where the tribes here were some of the last to be finally suppressed. too many memories of my ancestors raiding poor white ranchers and farmers and stealing their flocks. ahh, good times.
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