Savages and Saints: The Changing Image of American Indians in Westerns (Google eBook)

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McFarland, Jul 16, 2008 - Performing Arts - 318 pages
2 Reviews
The history of American Indians on screen, like the history of any other ethnicity portrayed in a Hollywood film, can be compared to a light shining through a prism. We may have seen bits and pieces of the genuine culture portrayed, but rarely did we see a satisfying and informative whole picture. In films like Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman, the Indian was a murderous savage with few, if any, redeeming qualities. By the time of Delmer Daves' Broken Arrow and other westerns like it, the portrait of the Indians became that of a misunderstood people who only wanted peace. In the wake of Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning Dances with Wolves, filmmakers would basically continue this trend into the 1990s and beyond, forever destroying the picture of the Indian as a murderous savage but unfortunately going to the other extreme. This book deals with the changing image of the American Indian in the Western film genre, contrasting the fictionalized images of native Americans portrayed in classic films from Francis Boggs' Curse of the Redman to Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans against the historical reality of life on the American frontier. The book tells the stories of frontier warriors, Indian and white, revealing how their stories were often drastically altered on screen according to the times the films were made, the stars involved in the film's production, and the social/political beliefs of the filmmakers. The book also uses studio correspondence, letters from government files, and passages from western novels adapted for the screen, to illustrate the various points of view of the authors who had a direct hand in shaping the Hollywood image of the American Indian. The book features 84 photographs, an index, and a bibliography of more than 100 sources.

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Bob Herzberg obviously does NOT know his history or the TRUE history of the Native Americans
by his assinin remarks. For Instance: The Military had a "policy" not to harm or kill indian women
children. Quite the contrary. Orders were to kill any and all. Read your History Bob. Read the
massacres the military did. Sand Creek, Trail of tears, Wonded knee. read on. Of course you
only wrote the book to create controversy and sell copies. Problem is people know their history and
its Americ'a SHAME.
You are ignorant. Keep your racial stupidity in your own slum house.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Herzberg's book is littered with unfounded claims and racist propaganda. His assessment of the "Hollywood Indian" is juvenile and rather pathetic. It is very unfortunate and embarrassing that works like Herzberg's continue to be printed in this day and age.


1 All Quiet on the Silent Screen 19031927
2 War Whoops in the Talkies 19281939
3 The Great Whitewash 19401948
4 More Than One Red Menace 19491960
5 Mass Media Massacres 19601975
6 The Vanishing American Western 1978the present

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About the author (2008)

Playwright and author Bob Herzberg is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Western Writers of America. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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