Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only

Miller, H., & Mules, W. (2014). Anthony Mann’s Film Westerns: Mise-en-scène and the Total Image in Bend of the River. Transformations, 3(2), 1-27.

Access the journal

© Copyright, The Authors, 2014

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 2.5 License




Rachel Peate: In this paper we will undertake a reading of one of Mann’s films – Bend of the River – as presenting a closed frontier. Our study will examine how this closure of the frontier is inscribed in the mise-en-scène as a foreshortening of the landscape, so that human actions appear to intermingle with it. We define mise-en-scène as the interrelation of objects within the space of the film frame, presented to the viewer as an “event” of the film. [3] The viewer is drawn into the film by what is offered in the mise-en-scène. Objects arrayed within the foreshortened landscape appear larger or smaller than what they would otherwise be. This deep focus style of imagery releases objects from the background and integrates them into the foregrounded meaning of the action. [4] Things such as spurs, coffee pots, mountains, boulders, river beds, and even the twigs of branches, become charged with an affective force that links the actions of the characters directly into the natural world.



This document has been peer reviewed.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.