Cinema forum on American cinema: aspects to consider during the viewing of the film for the subsequent debate


– It is a super production of the Major Metro Goldwyn Mayer, raised in the early 60s to overcome the creative and artistic decline that the Western was beginning to suffer, after its splendor in the 50s.

Interrogatory: Do you think the film adds something to the previous production of westerns?


– Likewise, it is conceived with an air of spectacularity through a new filming and projection system, called Cinerama. It consisted of shooting using a special camera equipped with three lenses, in a widescreen format. If you look closely, you can see the two vertical lines on the right and left of the frame.

Question: Does this system of planning seem valid to you, violating the norm of the set of shots on which cinematographic language rests so that there are only long shots?


– The script is inspired by a series of serialized articles that appeared in the magazine Life, and welcomes the structure of the family saga. Through the different generations, it is intended to reflect the evolution of the United States of America, from a primitive rural society, magnifying the great natural spaces, to the cities of the XNUMXth century.

Interrogatory: Do you think that the film overemphasizes the importance of the family institution and traditional values ​​within American civilization?


– Since the story is divided into very different parts, several directors were hired, three in particular, of course with experience in the genre: John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall.

Interrogatory: Since the planning in Cinerama determines the technical and expressive style of the film, do you appreciate stylistic discrepancies between the parts in charge of each director?


– In the same way, multiple emblematic stars appear, who had shone in the genre, in more or less important roles: James Stewart, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda. It is also distinguished in minor characters actors who would become important in the genre, such as Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef.

Interrogatory: Do you think that each interpreter appears in his ideal character?

We will analyze all this in the subsequent colloquium.

Anita Haas