WORK IN PROGRESS
Missouri, my home state, can be considered a microcosm of the United States. With its two relatively liberal “coasts”—Kansas City and Missouri—and its vast conservative middle, it is regularly a swing state. Accordingly, Missouri has served as a bellwether in all but two presidential elections since 1950. Located in the center of the country, it sits at the traditional dividing line between West and East, the Mississippi River. It also sits at what might be considered a dividing line between North and South, the Ozark Mountains. This has led to consistent classification issues. Is Missouri a southern state? A northern state? A western state? A midwestern state? Missourians typically consider it the last of these.
Historically, the state was an important piece in the American Civil War.
So how has Missouri been treated in the movies? Well, aside from a couple perennial subjects—specifically Jesse James and Mark Twain—the state has largely been ignored. I suspect that for most Americans, the state produces no instant associations and therefore it is difficult for Hollywood to use it as shorthand for anything. We know what it means for a movie to be set in Texas or Louisiana or New York or even Montana, stereotyped as this meaning may be, but what does it mean to be a “Missouri Film”?
I’ve grouped the films into categories based on geography/subject matter.
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