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In collaboration with the 8th Holmfirth Film Festival, Lee Broughton programmed and introduced a screening of George Englund’s cult counter culture Western Zachariah (USA, 1971).

Dubbed the first electric Western, the film stars John Rubinstein and Don Johnson as two young friends who set out to become gunslingers. Patricia Quinn, Dick Van Patten, William Challee and Robert Ball appear in supporting roles, as do a variety of contemporary musicians and bands: Country Joe and the Fish, Elvin Jones, Doug Kershaw, the James Gang, White Lightnin’ and the New York Rock Ensemble.  

The film was written by Joe Massot and members of the anarchic Firesign Theatre comedy group and its narrative was loosely based on Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha (1922).

Lee introduced the screening with a public paper titled ‘Zachariah: The First Electric Western’. The paper discussed the Hollywood Western’s decline during the 1960s, the emergence of New Hollywood at the end of that decade and the revisionist Hollywood Westerns like Zachariah that subsequently appeared during the early 1970s. The paper also discussed Zachariah in relation to the counter culture trends that influenced its content and other contemporary pop and rock star centred films.

The screening took place at Hot Banana in Holmfirth on 20 May 2017.