DARK SIDE OF THE MYTH
The paper is devoted to westerns inspired by film noir. Film noir is treated not as a separate genre, but as a general tendency, characterized by a pessimistic world outlook and an expressionist esthetics. The author reviews dark westerns by Fritz Lang (The Return of Frank James, Western Union), William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident, Yellow Sky), Raoul Walsh (Pursued), Howard Hawks (Red River), John Huston (The Treasure of Sierra Madre), Anthony Mann (Furies), Samuel Fuller (I Shot Jesse James, Fourty Guns) and Nicholas Ray (Johnny Guitar). The main thesis of the essay is that westerns influenced by film noir in their critical view of traditional American values which had been glorified by classical westerns. This anticipated changes in the genre, which took place in the sixties and seventies, when film-makers such as Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah or Arthur Penn made their revisionist, polemic spaghetti- and anti-westerns.