How a cultural series held together by a slender string of part-mythology Oscar Wilde's visit to Colorado to deliver a lecture on the aesthetics movement in 1862 winds up pulling a Western film series out of its holster is open for debate, but once Fresh City Life's Chris Loffelmacher begins explaining this portion of the Denver Public Library's spring series, Wild Wilde West, it all makes perfect sense. Wilde, a man out of place in the mythical West of yore, was, after all, once feted in a Leadville mine shaft by silver baron Horace Tabor. By coincidence, the adjunct film series, titled The Reel West, juxtaposes reality with mythology as played out in the evolution of a sequence of Hollywood oaters, from tonight's The Ox-bow Incident to The Professionals (screening on May 27).
"It wasn't always going to be about the decline of the mythology of the West, but we just kept gravitating over and over to those films...and we ended up with a beautiful package of films," Loffelmacher says. "By the time we get to The Professionals, we're really looking at Hollywood admitting it's all an invented thing."
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Ox-bow, the 1943 Henry Fonda vehicle that was held back by the studio for three years because of its tendency to shoot down the Old West mythology of most Westerns of the day, screens tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the B2 Conference Center of the Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The free film series continues weekly on Tuesdays through the end of May; for information, go to www.denverlibrary.org/fresh or call 720-865-1206.
Tue., April 29, 2008