Throwback Thursday: Once Upon a Time in a Western

Bonanza_title_screenThe western, as a genre, seems to have fallen out of vogue. Not even high-powered combination of Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski could make the recent Lone Ranger film a sure thing. (That having been said, if you want an awesome Johnny Depp western, may I recommend Rango.)

But the American west will always have a nostalgic appeal for those who grew up on John Wayne, Louis L’Amour and Bonanza. That’s why we’re dedicating this week’s Throwback Thursday to the western.

With all due respect to the aforementioned L’Amour, the first name in westerns will always be John Wayne. Yes, his range extended beyond a 10-gallon hat and a stoic stare. (Personally, I loved his turn in I Love Lucy.) But if you need a place to start, check out his Oscar-winning performance in True Grit or his classic turn in Hondo. Try his Ultimate Collection if you want to get a taste of the Duke’s lesser known films. You can also stream several of Wayne’s movies for free onto your computers, phones and tablets with you library via Hoopla. (How to use Hoopla, in case you forgot.)

If you’re looking for a more contemporary film, my personal favorite is Tombstone, but 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James are both well worth your time.

There are plenty of classic westerns for the small screen too and you can borrow any of them—Bonanza, Rawhide, Wild Wild West (even the other Wild Wild West)—from Mentor Public Library.

The westerns were such a revolutionary genre of film and television, they created their own style of music to accompany them—wavering harmonicas, barely tuned pianos and rustling spurs for percussion. The most famous composer for westerns was Ennio Morricone, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg. And if you love the music as much as you love the movies, you can borrow both at the library.

If you’d rather read than watch, we have dozens of L’Amour books available for checkout. And if you want something more contemporary, may I recommend Elmore Leonard?

And if you like your Western movies a little broader, well, there’s always Blazing Saddles. It’s the perfect movie if you hate westerns and if you love them.

Come back each week for a new Throwback Thursday profile.

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