Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Drawing upon the Beinecke Library's collection of more than 2100 film scripts and extensive collections of lobby cards, press kits, and posters, Celluloid West investigates the ways in which screen writers, directors, producers, and actors have embraced, challenged, and shaped 20th-century American views of the West. The exhibition features over 50 posters, dozens of lobby cards, publicity materials, and five-dozen film scripts, from silent film depictions of Buffalo Bill's adventures to Dirty Harry to contemporary African American life in Los Angeles. Genres include not only the traditional, generic "Western," but also film noir, contemporary drama, romantic comedy, historical epic, in both urban and rural settings. Materials range from the classic John Ford films, Stagecoach, Fort Apache, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, to multiple drafts for more recent works such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Thelma & Louise, and Drugstore Cowboy. The exhibition introduces visitors to the range of materials now available at the Beinecke to support scholarly investigation into film history collection and to suggest the scale of the creative and critical conversation about the West that has been carried on by the last century's most distinctive medium of popular culture.