Friday, August 24, 2007

Scouting the Web

■ Moonstone Books will be issuing an all new anthology of short stories featuring the famed master swordsman from the West, Zorro. The volume will include new material by authors Isabel Allende (who also reinvented the Zorro myth in a recent bestselling novel), Max Allan Collins, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman and Jeff Mariotte, among others. Tales of Zorro is tentatively scheduled for December 10 but you can preorder a limited edition hardcover from Moonstone here.

■ For those proclaiming the premature death of the film Western, here’s a slate of upcoming Hollywood releases. This UK’s Sunday Times article from a few weeks ago discusses them in detail.

First, there’s September Dawn (official website), starring Jon Voight (Return to Lonesome Dove) and directed by Christopher Cain, whose Westerns resume includes Young Guns and a number of episodes for the entertaining yet ill-fated TV series The Magnificent Seven. Although I’m not a fan of Young Guns and the movie comes preceded by some pretty harsh reviews, I am still interested in watching this story set against the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a tragedy which occurred in Utah in 1857. You can see the trailer below:

Next is 3:10 to Yuma (official website), directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line) and starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Peter Fonda. The movie is a remake of the 1957 film which in turn is based on the Elmore Leonard story of the same name.

The trailer has been posted all over the web so there is no point of reproducing it here. However, if you want to see it, I recommend you drop by my fellow Saddlebum Ben Boulden’s blog and likewise check out all the other good stuff there.

Here, you can listen to a nice NPR interview with Fonda where he discusses his role in the film and also his thoughts on Westerns.

Finally, there’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (official website), which was shot more than two years ago and is scheduled for limited release on September 21. The movie stars Brad Pitt as Jesse James and is based on a novel by Ron Hansen. For the trailer, you can go to Russell Davis’ most excellent Westerns for Today blog, one of the inspirations for Saddlebums. While there, you might want to check previous posts including very interesting essays on Saving the Western Genre and promoting Westerns in schools (it’s never too late to rekindle those discussions. What do you think?).

For those who might not know, Russell Davis is the author of more than a dozen novels and the editor of the recent Western anthology Lost Trails with Martin H. Greenberg.

The article also mentions Seraphim Falls (which apparently has not been screened yet in the UK) and the upcoming Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian), although I don’t know whether to call it a bona fide Western (maybe this is another topic for discussion?).

■ The newest issue of Roundup Magazine from the Western Writers of America is out. The online edition includes an article by Patrick Dearen on his novel Perseverance, a profile of author Steven Law by Richard D. Jensen, a review of Elmer Kelton’s memoir Sandhills Boy: The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer by Richard S. Wheeler as well as short reviews of Western fiction and nonfiction.

■ The latest issue of True West Magazine is on sale, featuring an interview with Holly George Warren, author of Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, as well as book and DVD reviews, among other goodies. Visit them online and vote on their sixth annual “Best of the West” survey.

■ The 59th Primetime Emmy Awards are coming up on September 16 and two Westerns are leading the nominations: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee with 17 nods and Broken Trail with 16. The two miniseries managed to rack up more nominations than high-profile TV blockbusters like The Sopranos (15) and Grey’s Anatomy (10). If either of them does well come awards time, they could end up beating the original Lonesome Dove miniseries, winner of seven Emmys. In addition, the final season of the sorely missed HBO TV series Deadwood was nominated in six categories.

Elizabeth Fackler - author of such Westerns as Blood Kin and the future subject of a Saddlebums interview - will be signing her latest Devon Gray novel, Lucinda's Summer Vacation, at Art In The Orchard, Lincoln Monument Visitor Center in Lincoln, New Mexico on September 9th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Ben Boulden said...

I watched the film "Seraphim Falls" this past weekend, and while it wasn't great, it was entertaining and had a few moments of top-notch suspense; particularly the opening sequence. The climax was a little weak, but overall not bad.

I also have an interest in the film "September Dawn" for the simple reason that I was raised in Utah--still live here--and the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been controversial for as long as I can remember. In fact it was only whispered of by the main body of the Mormon Church until recently.

There is an excellent book by Juanita Brooks about it, and Will Bagley recently--in the past few years anyway--wrote a disturbing article for Wild West magazine, and he also has a book out on the subject that I haven't read. Interesting stuff.


Chap O'Keefe said...

Not about movies, but definitely under your header Scouting the Web. . . . Today Saddlebums gets a nice plug at Grumpy Old Bookman's blog, which is held in high regard in the publishing world.

GOB (Michael Allen)isn't a western fan, but he looks kindly on "non-lit'ry" fiction. For those just joining us, last week (Aug 15 and 16), he reviewed a new western novel alongside the reissue of an SF classic by Philip K. Dick.

Gonzalo B. said...

Thanks, Chap. I hadn't seen it although I visit GOB's blog regularly. I've also read part of Michael Allen's book on writing (which, btw, is posted online) and I must say it contains some of the most sensible advice on the topic I've seen in quite a while. Considering the abundant supply of books on writing, most of which are authored by people who've never published anything else in their lives and which sound more like self-help propaganda, this is saying a lot. I hope to find time in the near future to also download some of Mr. Allen's fiction.

Anonymous said...

Long ago, when I first read Ron Hansen's Jesse James novel, I was dazzled by his use of words. He made them dance and march and do triple duty in ways I had never before seen, and I marveled at this. His use of the English language was unique. And yet... after I had finished the novel, some other realities haunted me. I scarcely remembered the characters or the story, mainly because there was minimal characterization and the plot was thin. Not one character lingered in my memory. I'm curious what the filmmakers did with this. You can't transfer puns and neologisms and metaphors to screen images, except perhaps to give the characters unusual and clever dialogue. I guess I'm saying that the film will have almost no connection to the novel, and will simply be the creation of those Hollywood people who borrowed Hansen's title. Who knows? Maybe it will be splendid.

Richard Wheeler

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