Four MTSU professors will help put the Old West into contemporary context in a special film series. "Essential Westerns," a lineup of some of the great all-time Western films, will be screened at the Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Ave. in Nashville, from Aug. 4 through Sept. 30 with enlightening introductions from university professors, film critics and other experts.
Christopher Weedman, an assistant professor of English, will lead the audience into "Ulzana's Raid" Wednesday, Sept. 5. Starring Burt Lancaster and Bruce Davison, this anti-Vietnam War allegory tells the tale of a young cavalry lieutenant who calls upon a veteran scout to help him track down an Apache chief.
Elyce Helford, an English professor, will introduce "Bad Day at Black Rock" Saturday, Sept. 8. Directed by John Sturges, the movie stars Spencer Tracy as a man who encounters resistance from the prejudiced residents of a small town as he looks for the father of the man who saved his life in World War II.
Chris Clark, an adjunct professor in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media, will provide the preface to "The Naked Spur" Sunday, Sept. 16. James Stewart stars as a bounty hunter seeking to bring a murderer, played by Robert Ryan, to justice with the aid of an old prospector and a discharged Union soldier.
Will Brantley, an English professor, will introduce the classic "Shane," starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Brandon de Wilde, Sunday, Sept. 23. Ladd portrays a retired gunslinger trying to live down his past in a small Wyoming town while getting caught up in a fight between a cattle baron and the local citizens.
Helford returns Saturday, Sept. 29, to introduce "The Furies," directed by Anthony Mann and starring Walter Huston and Barbara Stanwyck. Huston, in his last film performance, plays a cattle baron who faces violent resentment from his daughter, portrayed by Stanwyck, as a new woman enters his life.
"MTSU's English Department houses an interdisciplinary minor in film studies," Helford said. "We have wonderful courses and faculty, and partnering with the Belcourt allows us to share our knowledge with a wider audience and to let them know what MTSU English has to offer."
For information on the entire list of 26 films, as well as ticket information and showtimes, go to http://www.belcourt.org/events/essential-westerns.