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The Seductive and Subversive Meta-Narrative of Unforgiven

The Seductive and Subversive Meta-Narrative of Unforgiven joseph h. kupfer So You Like Westerns? responses to clint eastwood's unforgiven (1992) divide into those that align it with the traditional Western and those that group it with what has been variously described as the "alternative Western," "new Western," and the "revisionist Western." Revisionist Westerns are viewed as questioning or attacking the structure and norms of the genre. Traditional Westerns clearly demarcate the forces of good and evil and endorse expert gunfighting in the cause of justice. Good gunfighters were sometimes sheriffs and marshals but could be gunslingers or simply outsiders. As Richard Slotkin describes the likes of Shane (Alan Ladd) and Will Kane (Gary Cooper in High Noon), a good man with a gun is "in every sense the best of men" (396). The noble hero defeated opponents who were evil or the henchmen of the unjust. Unforgiven was included by some reviewers in the subgenre of Western films that debunked the myths of the West as well as the films that enshrined them. David Ansen wrote that Eastwood was himself revealing "disgust for the false mythology of the Western hero" (52). Unforgiven is unlike Eastwood's other Westerns in asking us "to ponder the danger of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

The Seductive and Subversive Meta-Narrative of Unforgiven

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 60 (3-4) – Oct 3, 2008

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
ISSN
1934-6018
Publisher site
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Abstract

joseph h. kupfer So You Like Westerns? responses to clint eastwood's unforgiven (1992) divide into those that align it with the traditional Western and those that group it with what has been variously described as the "alternative Western," "new Western," and the "revisionist Western." Revisionist Westerns are viewed as questioning or attacking the structure and norms of the genre. Traditional Westerns clearly demarcate the forces of good and evil and endorse expert gunfighting in the cause of justice. Good gunfighters were sometimes sheriffs and marshals but could be gunslingers or simply outsiders. As Richard Slotkin describes the likes of Shane (Alan Ladd) and Will Kane (Gary Cooper in High Noon), a good man with a gun is "in every sense the best of men" (396). The noble hero defeated opponents who were evil or the henchmen of the unjust. Unforgiven was included by some reviewers in the subgenre of Western films that debunked the myths of the West as well as the films that enshrined them. David Ansen wrote that Eastwood was himself revealing "disgust for the false mythology of the Western hero" (52). Unforgiven is unlike Eastwood's other Westerns in asking us "to ponder the danger of

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Oct 3, 2008

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