Altman and the western, or a Hollywood director's history lesson of the American West

Teo, S 2016, 'Altman and the western, or a Hollywood director's history lesson of the American West' in Adrian Danks (ed.) A Companion to Robert Altman, Wiley-Blackwell, London, pp. 254-273.


Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Altman and the western, or a Hollywood director's history lesson of the American West
Author(s) Teo, S
Year 2016
Title of book A Companion to Robert Altman
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication London
Editor(s) Adrian Danks
Start page 254
End page 273
Subjects Cinema Studies
Summary Altman's breakthrough film was MASH in 1970. The critical perception of Altman is generally that of a highly contemporary, modernist filmmaker. The majority of his films are set in the contemporary era and he is not generally thought of as a director of Westerns. Altman's television Westerns are essentially craftsman- like and subservient to the needs and formulas of specific popular series that contain a prescribed set of narrative principles, characteristics, identities and stylistic conventions. Altman's television works can be said to constitute an "apprenticeship" or a learning curve. This chapter endeavors to detail the qualities while also engaging more critically with what seems to me to be the standard notions (by now) of Altman's approach, and in particular his treatment of the hero archetype and his historical outlook on the Western genre. Altman's revisionism and cinematic innovations stem from the imposition of a strong personal style on his material.
Keyword(s) Altman
apprenticeship
cinematic innovations
MASH
Western genre
DOI - identifier 10.1002/9781118338896.ch12
ISBN 9781118288900
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