The Great Train Robbery: Film Analysis

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Western’s a genre with a purpose

For almost as long as the medium of filmmaking has existed so too has the Western first showcased in Edwin S. Porter film The Great Train Robbery. Though overall a simple film in retrospect the way in which it pushed the medium forward was revolutionary in containing a narrative.
Cowboys are the initial American heroes of filmmaking which all others pull from; Westerns as a male focused genre the central genre trope of masculinity have been constructed on a cinematic level. Action heroes and noir films can be traced back to Europe either through the Sherlock Holmes books or mythic tales of heroism. The Western would also goon to instruct other genre’s such as Kurosawa’s samurai films. Through the years the
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Focusing on the characters that have the most impact on the film’s story. Further illustrating the ways in which filmmaking techniques can create meanings reflected in the story.

First allow me to define masculinity in the Western sense. In Western narratives powerful men demonstrate their masculinity through their use of violence as the ultimate tool for resolving conflict and how their use of violence is reflective of an internal ideology. This masculinity is typically turned up to 11 in Westerns having characters killing multiple characters without remorse. The simply masculine becomes the hyper-masculine. Secondly the Western is defined where one or more characters must follow actions that align with their internal ideology often time being questioned in their code of
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This is accomplished through his use of tight close ups and characters facial expression. Cinematography is Leone’s strong suit and he best uses it for building anticipation and suspense through silence. The music is integrated for atmospheric effect to show progression in the characters unease. Where dialogue can be utilized to illustrate a character winning the scene, Leone attempts to avoid dialogue whenever possible. Keeping it simple Leone sticks to tight close ups and blocking to show characters power. In The Good The Bad & The Ugly the three main characters have very distinct glares that inform the viewer of their character. Blondie, The Good has a poker face very focused and hard to read exemplifying his sheer confidence in controlling any given situation. Tuco, The Ugly also called the Rat by Blondie has a look like rat with his shifty eyes giving different characters short glances that mask his intention while also making his seem suspicious. Finally, Angel Eyes, The Bad who has a look similar to a snake with his eyes pointing directly at his target before a

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