Print the Legend: Classic American Westerns

Join us in April for three classic American Western films, presented by local film expert Nina Kleinberg.

In the 35 years after the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of Americans and immigrants from Europe and Asia moved into the Western States in search of wealth, peace, and a new beginning. They found wide-open spaces—and also Native Americans who had lived there for thousands of years.

For much of the 20th century, Westerns were the most popular genre of film, both in the United States and abroad. What was it about the West that brought audiences into the theaters? What stories did Hollywood tell about the allure of the Frontier? How much of these stories was based on truth, and how much on the comforting myths used to justify westward expansion into Native land?

Many of you know Nina from her 2015 film series Film School in 60 Minutes and her 2016 presentations on 1950s science fiction films Out of this World. Her introductory talks combine film history and American history to bring to life the stories behind the movies we all love. After each film, there will be a brief discussion of the film’s place in cinema history, followed by a Q&A period.

Howard Hawks’ Western masterpiece stars John Wayne and Montgomery Clift as father and adopted son who drive one of the first cattle herds from the open spaces of Texas to the newly-built railroads.
Tue, 4/2
Written as a reaction to the McCarthy era, HIGH NOON tells the story of a town marshal whose loyalties are torn between the community he must defend against a deadly gang and the religious precepts of his young Quaker bride.
Tue, 4/9
You will find THE SERACHERS on almost all lists of the best Westerns ever made. But its treatment of Native Americans—and it’s evasion of the truth on which the story is based—are a challenge for today’s film-goers. What really happened when a young white settler was abducted by the Comanches? Come and find out.
Tue, 4/16