The Center's festival "Dark Horse: Film Noir Westerns," screens movies that fuse the two forms. You can be ignorant about movies, like me, and thoroughly enjoy Meuel's look under the surface of popular culture.
"Something very curious happened in American films beginning in the mid and late 1940s," Meuel says. "Increasingly, movies became much darker in tone and subject matter. We first saw this new sensibility in crime films, but it soon became evident in many other kinds of films, including that most optimistic of American inventions, the movie western. How this all happened, and the enormous impact noir had on the western is something we continue to feel deeply today both in films and on television."
The noir/western film series is at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco (www.ybca.org/dark-horse).
On April 12th, Meuel discusses William Wellman's classic 1943 film 'The Ox-Bow Incident' starring Henry Fonda. He also discusses Raoul Walsh's haunting 1947 'Pursued' starring Robert Mitchum and Teresa Wright.
On April 19th, Meuel will introduce Andre de Toth's 1947 film 'Ramrod' starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. He also examines Henry King's 'The Gunfighter' starring Gregory Peck.
Meuel's book The Noir Western: Darkness on the Range, 1943-1962 is published by McFarland.