'Trail' shows why Americans never tire of Westerns

Genre provides opportunity to explore national themes

Critical Eye

June 25, 2006|By DAVID ZURAWIK | DAVID ZURAWIK,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

ROBERT DUVALL MIGHT BE GOING A little overboard when he says, "The Russians have Chekhov, and the English have Shakespeare; we have the Western."

But if the Academy Award-winning actor and producer was overstating the literary importance of America's most durable genre, it wasn't by much: Despite recurring predictions of the Western's demise, tonight's prime-time lineup will feature a new episode of HBO's graphic and operatic series Deadwood. And at the same time, AMC 's first original movie, Broken Trail, a spellbinding frontier epic starring Duvall and directed by Walter Hill (Geronimo: An American Legend) will premiere.

BROKEN TRAIL / / Will air at 8 tonight and tomorrow on AMC

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