Western RoundUp: Western Film Book Library – Part 8

Western Film Book Library – Part 8

It’s been just about a year since my last column on books on the Western movie genre, so it’s time for a look at some more interesting books in my collection!

The books featured in this post range from one of the earliest books in my collection to recently published titles.

I’ll start with an “oldie but goodie,” Shoot-Em-Ups by Les Adams and Buck Rainey.

Shoot Em Ups

Shoot-Em-Ups was published by Arlington House in 1978. It’s a large, heavy hardcover which clocks in at 633 pages.

For those of us who became classic film fans in the pre-IMDb era, this kind of book is how we looked up movie casts! In between the credits listings are interesting, educational chapters on the history of Westerns. Books like this one helped spur my interest in Westerns; as I read and enjoyed the photographs, I’d make lists of movies I hoped to see one day.

Shoot Em Ups 2
Shoot Em Ups 3

Singing Cowboy Stars is a delightful little volume by Robert W. Phillips. It was published by Gibbs Smith in 1994.

Singing Cowboy Stars

The book reviews 25 Westerns stars in 95 glossy pages. The book covers some of the expected stars, such as Tex Ritter, Ray Whitley, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Dick Foran, and Eddie Dean; it also makes room for John Wayne and his “Singin’ Sandy” days at Monogram.

Best of all, there’s even a 10-song CD in the back of the book!

Singing Cowboy Stars A
Singing Cowboy Stars B

Women in the Films of John Ford was written by David Meuel for McFarland Books, published in 2014. Meuel is also the author of The Noir Western which I recommended in a book column a few years back.

The book covers female characters in a variety of Ford films in its 196 pages; naturally, many of them appear in Westerns, including Stagecoach (1939), Rio Grande (1950), and The Searchers (1956), to name a few. Meuel offers detailed analyses of both characters and performances. It’s an enjoyable read for those who love Ford films and also serves as an interesting introduction for those who are newer to his movies.

Women In the Films of John Ford

Another McFarland book on this list is The Films of Budd Boetticher by Robert Nott, who also wrote a book on Randolph Scott featured here last year. The Boetticher book is 192 pages and was published in 2018. Like the Ford book, not every film covered is a Western, but there are many to be found within its pages.

Nott discusses each film’s production history and reception, as well as offering his own critical analysis. The book also has a nice selection of black and white photos. This well-written book is engaging and informative.

Films of Budd Boetticher

The next pair of books, Cowboy Movie Posters and More Cowboy Movie Posters, were found by a good friend at a Canadian antique mart and sent to me as a gift. Needless to say, I was delighted!

Western Posters

The books were published by Bruce Hershenson in 1994 and 1998, respectively; they’re part of a larger series of books from the founder of a poster sales website. The images are beautifully reproduced on glossy pages, with brief accompanying text written by Brian Cook. A visual treat for Western fans!

Western Posters 1
Western Posters 2

The final book featured this month is The John Wayne B-Westerns 1932-1939, written by James L. Neibaur and published by Bear Manor Media.

John Wayne B Westerns 1

This 268-page book is a must for Wayne fans, as it traces the evolution of Wayne’s career throughout the 1930s. The author provides detailed information on each of Wayne’s “B” films while also conveying their significance to his overall career.

Wayne had charisma from the outset, but it’s fascinating tracking his growing ability to command the camera; as I noted in a full-length review at my personal blog last year, “It’s almost paradoxical, but as Wayne learned to be more subtle and reactive, he simultaneously became more interesting to watch.” And beyond Wayne himself, many of the films described by Neibaur are simply fun viewing.

For many more ideas on Western film reading, please visit my lists from July 2019November 2019May 2020January 2021July 2021August 2022, and May 2023.

Thanks to James L. Neibaur and Bear Manor Media for providing a review copy of The John Wayne B-Westerns.

– Laura Grieve for Classic Movie Hub

Laura can be found at her blog, Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, where she’s been writing about movies since 2005, and on Twitter at @LaurasMiscMovie. A lifelong film fan, Laura loves the classics including Disney, Film Noir, Musicals, and Westerns.  She regularly covers Southern California classic film festivals.  Laura will scribe on all things western at the ‘Western RoundUp’ for CMH.

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One Response to Western RoundUp: Western Film Book Library – Part 8

  1. Jerry Entract says:

    I love your book reviews, Laura. That pair of movie poster books look amazing. The early book you review, SHOOT-EM-UPS, is still very much a go-to reference book for me. My copy had lost that lovely dust cover when I bought it. Trying to decide if that is Ken Maynard on Tarzan or Buck Jones on Silver. Knowing the late Buck Rainey’s passion for the latter’s films I reckon it must be Buck. Apart from enjoying the reading in these books I will go to them sometimes just to enjoy the stills from all those movies.

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