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Western Films (Quality Paperbacks Series) Paperback – August 21, 1988

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Quality Paperbacks Series
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 21, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030680333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306803338
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,971,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For a book that reportedly took over ten years of Brian Garfield's life, WESTERN FILMS: A COMPLETE GUIDE reads with the joie de vive of a sniper. Garfied, the author of DEATH WISH and HOPSCOTCH, has constructed this volume twofold: first with an opinionated overview of the genre delienated by time periods, directors, actors, etc., followed by capsule reviews of over 1500 "A-list" Westerns. Granted, the scope and breath of information alone makes this book worthy of any movie buff's bookshelf , but beware, Garfied has axes to grind and uses his book more as a warring tank than a friendly tour bus.

Garfied is a purist who favors Westerns from a earlier period of time- Westerns that do not stay too far from their mythic and literary roots. He hates, in no particular order, "Spaghetti Westerns," the auteur theory, (auteur fave Howard Hawks is a repeated target) self-consious artiness, and ulimately, much produced after the Kennedy assination (save for THE WILD BUNCH which Garfield repeatedly considers a masterpiece but exhibits all the characteristics of Vietnam era Westerns that Garfied supposedly despises. Go figure.). Garfield also turns a blind eye to "B-Westerns." Oaters starring the likes of Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry are mostly a "trite trife," and best left for other "historians, stunt-action fans and nostalgic programmer-buffs." Whether you agree with him or not, Garfied ultimately bleeds the fun out of Westerns and offers a world without an interesting thing to say about Clint Eastwood, Sergio Leone, RIO BRAVO, or the attributes of, say, Hopalong Cassidy. It's a world that I'll visit from time to time, but one that I quickly vanish on the noon time stagecoach.
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By Tom McDonald on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
While this is a very thorough guide in some ways, the author's clear distaste for the modern western makes it less than authoritative. He doesn't even try to understand the spaghetti western or any of Eastwood's directorial efforts. This caveat aside, the material that IS here is worthwhile and interesting. It's a good resource and overview. A little more balance would have made it great. .
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Format: Paperback
If you are not a big fan of spaghetti westerns, of juvenile "b" westerns of the Roy Rogers/Hopalong Cassidy variety and westerns made after the seventies, but instead are a fan of American "Adult" Westerns made from the late thirties to the early seventies, then this is the best reference/critical guide book I have come across.

I can not begin to count the number of times over the past twenty years I have picked up this book, I may not agree 100% with the authors comment's but I have never found a anyone else writing on film who comes closer to my own views, and I think the same would be true of most fans of the American "adult" western.

The book may be almost 25 years old, but that is no problem. Because how many films have people like

Ben Johnson, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Glen Ford, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Slim Pickens, Lee Van Cleef,Fred MacMurray and Audie Murphy made in the years since?
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Format: Hardcover
I'm going to have to agree with the majority of the reviews here. Garfield's preferences are a bit dated to say the least. Not just in his dismissal of spaghetti westerns which so irks some of the other viewers but in his dismissal of so many worthy westerns as well. 'Man of the West,' 'El Dorado,' '40 Guns,' 'Gunfight at the OK Corral,'Man from Laramie,' etc. Pick fifty of your favorite westerns and look them up in Garfield's book and I'll bet he puts at least half of them down.

He's the kind of writer who simply has to say something negative in almost any review he writes, sometimes even when he likes the film.

Having said all that it is a fun read is you're in tune with the author's bitchy worldview.
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Format: Paperback
Though I did not agree with many of the reviews I found them enjoyable. I also share his views on spaghetti westerns. (They are hit on your face). Being an author himself he of course emphasizes the role of a writer. That is good. Garfield does not like B westerns. If you like them, do not read this. Enjoy and disagaree!
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Format: Paperback
Brian Garfield's "Western Films: A Complete Guide" takes you on a tour of Western films up till the time the book was originally published, 1980. At nearly 400 pages it covers pretty much everything you'd want to know about Western films -- the Western myth, the genre, the directors, the writers, the crews, the actors and the films up till 1980. These topics are covered in the first 95 pages and Garfield's knowledge and writing style makes the material completely absorbing, even if you don't have much interest in the particular topic (e.g. the silent Westerns or the crews). Incidentally, I appreciate the fact that he included a whole chapter devoted to the writers, both the screenwriters and the writers of the books the films were based on. Garfield explains how films in general shouldn't be viewed as solely the director's movie. This is a myth with few exceptions. For instance, how can a picture be the director's medium when, in most cases, he or she had nothing to do with the writing? The story is the most important part or, at the very least, just as important as the photography, actors, editing, locations, effects and score.

Garfield no doubt gives credit to writers because he's a writer himself. He wrote the book that "Death Wish" was based on and many others, including Westerns, two of which were made into movies, "The Last Hard Men" and the TV miniseries "Wild Times".

The rest of the book is the best part, of course - reviews of every Western you can name up until 1980. What makes these critiques better than the average review guide is Garfield's opinionated approach and his excellent writing.
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