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Unbridling the Western Film Auteur

Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations

Edited By Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls

According to Jim Kitses (1969), the Western originally offered American directors a rich canvas to express a singular authorial vision of the American past and its significance. The Western’s recognizable conventions and symbols, rich filmic heritage, and connections to pulp fiction created a widely spoken «language» for self-expression and supplemented each filmmaker’s power to express their vision of American society. This volume seeks to re-examine the significance of auteur theory for the Western by analysing the auteur director «unbridled» by traditional definitions or national contexts.

This book renders a complex portrait of the Western auteur by considering the genre in a transnational context. It proposes that narrow views of auteurism should be reconsidered in favour of broader definitions that see meaning created, both intentionally and unintentionally, by a director; by other artistic contributors, including actors and the audience; or through the intersection with other theoretical concepts such as re-allegorization. In so doing, it illuminates the Western as a vehicle for expressing complex ideas of national and transnational identity.

Emma Hamilton is a Lecturer in History in the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her first monograph, Masculinities in American Western Films: A Hyper-Linear History, was published in 2016. Her research interests include representation studies, especially film and history; gender, sexuality, age and race across time and place; and modern American and Australian histories.

Alistair Rolls is Associate Professor of French Studies at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His research focuses on the work of Boris Vian and French and Anglo-American crime fiction. He is the author of The Flight of the Angels: Intertextuality in Four Novels by Boris Vian (1999), French and American Noir: Dark Crossings, with Deborah Walker (2009), and Paris and the Fetish: Primal Crime Scenes (2014).