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Russell Museum showing Western Art inspired films starting in February

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Broken Arrow 1While you might be inclined to assume that when speaking about Western Art that you’re simply talking about physical, silent art that stays in one place.

The reach of Western Art, however, extends far beyond that, with some immediate examples coming in the great digital art of R. Tom Gilleon that was showcased during Western Art Week last year, or through the three Western Art-inspired films that will be shown starting next month at the C.M. Russell Museum.

The museum this week announced a film series titled “Western Art and Hollywood Cinema” feauring three films, “Broken Arrow” (1950, directed by Delmer Daves) “Monte Walsh (1970, directed by William Fraker) and “Red River” (1946, directed by Howard Hawks.)

According to a news release, the series is designed, “to entertain and inform viewers about the three main themes—cowboys, Native Americans, and wildlife—found in the art of Charles M. Russell, and the portrayal of the themes in Western movies. A gallery guide will be available in advance of each film screening that directs participants to view selected artwork relating to the theme of the film to be watched.”
The museum will show the first film, “Broken Arrow” on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.

“Broken Arrow” is a fictional account of historical events relating to Apache leader Cochise and his fight against the storm of U.S. troops invading into Native land. The film also portrays Cochise’s relationship with ex-soldier Tom Jeffords.

This film is believed by historians to be one of the first major Westerns to show Native Americans in a sympathetic light, although most of the Indian roles were played by white actors.

“Monte Walsh,” meanwhile, will be shown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 8.
Monte Walsh, played by Lee Marvin, is an ageing cowboy living in a West that’s changing fast.
As barbed wire closes off the open range and railways steadily reduce the roles of the cowboy, Monte and his friend Chet, played by Jack Palance, are left with fewer and fewer options for work. They consider a more sedentary lifestyle, but the freedom of the open prairie is what they long for.

The final film, “Red River,” will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26.
Fourteen years after starting his cattle ranch in Texas, Tom Dunston, played by the legendary actor John Wayne, is finally ready to drive his 10,000 head of cattle to market.

Back then Dunston, his sidekick Nadine Groot, played by Walter Brennan and a teen-aged boy, Matt Garth (Mickey Kuhn as a boy and Montgomery Cliff as an adult), who was the only survivor of an Indian attack on a wagon train, started off with only two head of cattle.

The nearest market is in Missouri, 1,000 miles away. “Red River” is a classic and complex western, a sweeping, epic story about a cattle drive (historically based on the opening of the Chisholm Trail in 1867) and a film of rivalry and rebellion, spanning a period of 15 years.

Each film in the series will be introduced by Andrew Patrick Nelson, Assistant Professor of Film History and Critical Studies at Montana State University, Bozeman. Nelson will provide background information about the movie and its relationships to Charles M. Russell’s art.

Tickets are free with museum admission on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the event. Seating is limited to 75 people per screening. For details about the films and a gallery guide, please visit the museum website.

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