Compare Two Western Films Made at Least Twenty Years Apart on the Basis of the Three of the Five Frameworks Studied in the First Block of the Unit, and the Elements of the Western Genre Studied in the Second Block of the Unit.

3925 Words Mar 9th, 2013 16 Pages
Author: Ben Nichols
Student ID: 394990
Course Name: CMM10 Screen History and Research
Assessment 2: Comparative Essay
Description: Compare two Western films made at least twenty years apart on the basis of the three of the five frameworks studied in the first block of the unit, and the elements of the western genre studied in the second block of the unit.

Films selected:
The Great Train Robbery (1903) v True Grit (2010)

When Thomas Edison asked Edwin S.Porter to make The Great Train Robbery (1903) little did either realise that this film would be the beginning of not only the Western genre but an entire movie industry. The silent classic, The Great Train Robbery depicts a famous railroad robbery by a notorious
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It is here that they are truly confronted by the grand topography of the wilderness, lawlessness and violence. All are key defining elements of the Western Genre.
Whilst both films have many elements of commonality, you would by no means say they are the same film. Kitses used a table of antinomies which put the Wilderness opposite Civilisation and beneath both lists the defining features of each subject. By using this table you can take elements, such as freedom (the wilderness) against restrictions (civilization) and use the friction of these to create variations on the Western story. Cawelti maintained ‘out of the multiple variations possible’ ‘Western plots are concocted’ (1974, p62). The Great Train Robbery concerns itself with a daring theft from the civilizing railroad whereas True Grit is about the pursuit of justice in a lawless wild country. Both meet our definitions of a Western but neither tells the same story.
At first glance there seems very little that connect these two films. One was made in the silent era, the other the production of two auteur directors famous for quirky independent films. However, both films are based on popular stories. The Great Train Robbery was adapted from an 1896 play by Scott Marble whilst True Grit was adapted from the bestselling novel by Charles Portis (1968).

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