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Western Americana

June 2024
1min read

An exciting epoch in American history comes to view in the full-color 35mm filmstrip, The Opening of the West . Produced by Life Filmstrips (9 Rockefeller Plaza, N.Y. 20), the 58 frames use pictorial materials reproduced on the pages of Time and Life from museums and private collections. These paintings, sketches, and prints of artist-reporters record events in the movement across half a continent. Scenes of natural surroundings are followed by views of Indian life, the adventures of fur traders, the appearance of early settlements, the magnetic attraction of the Gold Rush, and the enterprise of Pony Express riders. The driving of the gold spike at the completion of the transcontinental railroad is the fitting climax to the narrative. Works by George Catlin, Carl Bodmer, A. J. Miller, J. J. Audubon, W. H. Jackson, and others furnish the lively and impressive report on the Old West. The filmstrip is an extraordinary record of both our artistic and historic heritage.

One of the later artists of the West—Frederic Remington—is the object of renewed attention. Remington’s sketches, and his library of books on the West—complete with bookplate of a longhorn’s skull—are in the Remington Memorial in Ogdensburg, N. Y. The important collection of paintings, drawings, bronzes, and other Remingtoniana in the Memorial, with a life of Remington, have recently been fully catalogued by Harold McCracken in a volume published by the Knoedler Galleries (14 East 57th Street, N. Y. 22).

Gold Rush Boy , a 16mm motion picture from Churchill-Wexler Film Productions (801 N. Seward Street, Los Angeles 38) presents many fascinating details of life in the Mother Lode. Everyday activities in a typical mining community are seen through the eyes of a young boy. As a result of the convincing presentation, other youngsters will easily identify themselves with Jackie Summers, and their interest in the Gold Rush era will be aroused.

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