Two major Westerns open this Winter, The Hateful Eight and The Revenant. We thought it would be fun to look at short form Westerns through the history of cinema. We review The Hateful Eight this week in In Critics Corner and will be back with more Western shorts on January 8 when The Revenant will be reviewed.
The Great Train Robbery (1903) is the first Western narrative movie made and packs a lot of story and action into 11 minutes. Filmed in New Jersey, and not the real Wild West it is the template for hundreds of movies to follow. The last shot in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas was inspired by a shocking scene from this film.
Broncho Billy and the School Mistress (1912) stars the first cowboy star, Bronco Billy Anderson. This Essanay two-reeler was filmed in the wilds of Fairfax and San Rafael, California. (This is the best version online but there is no sound. Just select some music of your choice and see how it works.)
Trailers give the maximum action and story in a few minutes. We like these classic John Wayne trailers.
The Searchers (1956)
A spoof, Blaze Glory (1969) became a popular short that is now all but lost. The print quality is substandard but this pixilated piece is still very funny.
A Tribute to Spaghetti Westerns is an exciting compilation of scenes from many Italian oaters in 2 ½ minutes.
The two collections, Cowgirl Catfights, have the ladies brawling.
The Weight (2012) is an award-winner that follows a young man going West after the Civil War to begin a new life.