Robert Horton

"The End of the Trail: How the Western Movie Rode Into the Sunset" and "The Movie Mashup: Wild Literary Adaptations on Film"

The End of the Trail: How the Western Movie Rode Into the Sunset

Robert HortonThe Western was America’s bedrock mythology – and greatest movie genre – for the first 70 years of film history. But, during a tumultuous period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the “revisionist” Western took up a fiercely critical argument with the past: In the disillusioned age of the counterculture and Vietnam, you could no longer distinguish heroes from villains by the color of their hats. Movie critic Robert Horton will led a discussion asking how movies reflect the history and culture of their times. Because of the dramatic changes seen in Westerns, the genre forces us to look critically at our own myths. Why do we need the clarity of “good guys” and “bad guys” at certain times? Why do we sometimes embrace a more ambiguous view of human nature? How do these movies challenge our way of thinking – and what happens to us when a movie forces us to question our long-cherished beliefs?


The Movie Mashup: Wild Literary Adaptations on Film

Did the movie "ruin the book" again? Well, maybe. But sometimes when a movie goes crazy with its source, it creates something fresh and exciting. In this talk, film critic Robert Horton looks at some of the wildest literary adaptations and describes how they show us something new. How did The Tempest become Forbidden Planet? How did Jane Eyre turn into I Walked with a Zombie? And how on earth did the Coen Brothers take Homer’s Odyssey and come up with O Brother, Where Art Thou? As we ponder the nature of adaptation (including Spike Jonze’s film Adaptation), we will look at why filmmakers re-imagine texts in order to make them breathe on screen. We will also ponder what makes us so protective of beloved books. We will see how a wild adaptation can not only illuminate the original (even when we barely recognize it), but also teach us about being open to the unexpected. We will also talk about how different cultures adapt classic films for their own purposes.


About Robert Horton

Robert Horton has spent more than 30 years writing and talking about film. A graduate of the University of Washington, he reviews movies for The Herald in Everett and Seattle Weekly, as well as a number of national publications. His books on film include Billy Wilder: Interviews and Frankenstein, and he co-authors the zombie Western graphic novel Rotten. Horton also curates Magic Lantern (a film-discussion series at the Frye Art Museum), teaches at Seattle University, is a Smithsonian Journeys speaker, and blogs on movies at  The Crop Duster.

Horton currently lives in Seattle.

For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Zaki Abdelhamid at (206) 682-1770 x102 or by email.

2012-14 Speakers Bureau: Robert Horton from Humanities Washington on Vimeo.

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