The Western has always been inextricably linked to the USA, and studies have continually sought to connect its historical development to changes in American society and Hollywood innovations. Focusing new critical attention on films produced in Germany, Italy and Britain, this timely book offers a radical rereading of the evolutionary history of the Western and brings a vital international dimension to its study. Lee Broughton argues not only that European films possess a special significance in terms of the genre's global development, but also that many offered groundbreaking and progressive representations of traditional Wild West 'Others': Native Americans, African Americans and so-called 'strong women'. European Westerns investigates how the histories of Germany, Italy and Britain - and the idiosyncrasies of their respective national film industries - influenced representations of the self and 'Other', shedding light on the broader cultural, historical and political contexts that shaped European engagement with the genre.
Lee Broughton is a Leverhulme Fellow in the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds, where he teaches Film Studies. His research on European Westerns has appeared in the collections Impure Cinema: Intermedial and Intercultural Approaches to Film (2014), International Westerns: Re-Locating the Frontier (2014) and Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2 (2013).
‘Broughton’s uniquely comparative study traces the legacies of national traumas in European Westerns of the 1960s and ‘70s. He locates a counter-politics to contemporaneous Hollywood productions in allegories of race and gender on screen, and in doing so expands the critical conversation about regional revisionism in an important and fascinating genre.’
Joanna Hearne, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies, University of Missouri, USA, and author of Native Recognition: Indigenous Cinema and the Western
‘Sergio Leone once observed that “the Western belongs to everyone”, not just to Hollywood. Broughton’s bold, perceptive and well-informed study looks closely at West German ‘Winnetou’ films, middle-period Italian Westerns and British Westerns between 1939 and the early 1970s, to discover strong counter-cultural representations of Native Americans, African Americans and women. Broughton also explores the reasons why. The analysis of A Town Called Bastard and Hannie Caulder in particular is a tour de force.’
Sir Christopher Frayling, Professor Emeritus of Cultural History, Royal College of Art
‘Within this book Lee Broughton considers the diverse meanings Westerns have obtained through contact with various historical, cultural and political contexts – avoiding a merely US-centric framework – and in doing so contributes to the much-needed discourse that places the genre within global networks of cultural blending. What provocatively and intriguingly emerges is that, where progressive representations of ethnicity and gender in Westerns were concerned, the Europeans got there first.’
Dr Austin Fisher, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Bournemouth University, UK, and author of Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinema (I.B. Tauris, 2014)
‘A hugely important book for its foregrounding of the Western as a transnational phenomenon. It sheds new light not only on the European Western, but also on the Hollywood Western and the ongoing dialogue between the two.’
Sean Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Brunel University London
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Series: Cinema and SocietyHardback
Publication Date: 29 Jun 2016
Number of Pages: 304