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BOOK REVIEWS Horizons West: Directing the Western from John. Ford to Clint Eastwood. By Jim Kitses. London: BFI Publishing, pp. Photography. Jim Kitses. Horizons West. Bloom- ington: Indiana University Press,. Colin McArthur. Underworld USA. New York: The Viking Press, These books. When first published in , Horizons West was immediately recognised as the definitive critical account of the By: Jim Kitses Media of Horizons West.

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This greatly expanded new edition now provides definitive critical analysis of the six greatest film-makers of ohrizons Western genre: The product of a lifetime’s labour and love, Horizons West is a landmark of scholarship and interpretation devoted to, what it for many, Hollywood’s signature genre.

It provides a compelling account of the powerful mythology of America’s past as forged by Western films and the men who made them. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If jik are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

When first published inHorizons West was immediately recognised as the definitive critical account of the Western film and some of its key directors. This greatly expanded new edition is, like the original, written in a graceful, penetrating and absorbingly readable style.

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Horizons West

Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Kirses 1 of 1. The Sea Wolf [Blu-ray]. Review “Indispensable guide to the Western.

British Film Institute; 2nd edition September 1, Language: I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 6 reviews.

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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. It is an excellent revision of the original book that includes newer perspectives as well as adds the work of Ford, Leone, and Eastwood. It is a scholarly effort that is well researched, annotated, and footnoted with an excellent bibliography and filmography included. After opening with generic comments regarding the practice and theory of directing the Western and an overview of the history and development of the genre, Kitses explores in some depth the westerns of six acknowledged masters of the Western movie.

Students of the Western movie genre or just plain fans of Westerns should enjoy the rich detail provided by Kitses as he dissects each of the major efforts of the six directors in search of recurring themes, perspectives, controversies, and, in general, the stories behind the story.


It is illuminating to explore how Ford matured and wedt his perspectives over his career, how Peckinpah’s career was constantly a battle with studio bosses, and how and why Leone and Eastwood drifted apart over the years.

I always find it intriguing to discover which actors had originally been offered and rejected roles that later made someone else famous such as James Coburn and Charles Bronson turning down Leone’s Man-With-No-Name trilogy that skyrocketed Eastwood to fame.

This wesy a fact filled text filled with detail and perspective on many of the most horizohs Western movies made. A number of photos of actors and sets are included as is information on who wrote, starred in, and produced most of them. I heartily recommend this effort to fans and students of the Western movie and its place in American cinema history. Back in the late s Jim Kitses wrote an enjoyable study of three western directors who at the time were not nearly as highly regarded as they are today.

His chapters on Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher were marvelous because uim directors had pretty much completed their contibutions to the western genre. The chapter on Sam Peckinpah left something to be desired since, at the time, Peckinpah had only three feature films–all of them westerns–under his belt. This new edition addresses that problem by providing a career-length reassessment of Peckinpah’s contributions to the western.

The other new material–mainly on John Ford and Clint Eastwood–is certainly readable, but I’m not certain that it was essential. Nevertheless it is good to have this volume back in print once more.

Very useful resource in studying the western films. There is no question Jim Kitses knows intimately the movies he explores in this work. There also is no question that Wedt offers some thoughtful and very valuable insights into the Western films of these directors. But the book is deeply flawed by his pedantic writing style. He is not a clever or colorful wordsmith, to put it politely. If you buy this book, don’t even bother with the long-winded and wooden introduction trying his explain his point of view.

It is close to impenetrable and he appears obsessed with gender politics perhaps he has been infected by living and working in San Francisco for too long.

Worse, in many places in the book he insists on arguing with other reviewers of the same films.

Obviously, they aren’t even present to defend their views and what they had to say is almost always very briefly paraphrased and characterized, so Kitses trumps them every time by having the final and much more developed word. The many bogus debates sidetracked and, in many cases, diluted the otherwise well-reasoned opinions and detailed insight he had to offer.


A good but less than great read is the result. It is fine reading for anyone interested in the Western. Kitses has added a marvelous chapter on John Ford, which examines all Ford’s westerns from Stagecoach to Cheyenne Autumn Kitses’ comments are sensible and to the point.

Also, he has written good analysis of Sergeant Rutledge and Two Rode Together, two late Westerns that few critics pay attention to. Kitses has left the text of his original work alone, except for adding some to the Peckinpah chapter. While his comments on Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid are perceptive, the Peckinpah chapter is probably the weakest in the book.

I am not sure if Kitses dislikes Peckinpah or if he disliked critics who like Peckinpah. Kitses then adds two chapters, one of Sergio Leone and one on Clint Eastwood. The Leone chapter is okay but is far colder than the rest of the book. However, the chapter on Eastwood is terrific, one that strikes a fine balance between praise for his achievements and an awareness of the flaws in those achievements.

This is perhaps some of the best serious analysis of Eastwood as a director that I have read. Strongly recommended for all readers interested in Westerns. See all 6 reviews.

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Horizons West: The Western from John Ford to Clint Eastwood by Jim Kitses

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