Analysis Of Western Films "Shane" And "High Noon"

2387 words - 10 pages

Relationship of Western Film Heroes with the CommunityIn the genre of western films, the hero plays a key role. In many films the American people have turned their attention to more constructive pursuits, such as battling nature to progress America's future rather than each other. In between this wild country fraught with danger and corruption lies the role of the hero. The hero is usually portrayed as an individual with exceptional skills who through their abilities rids a town of the corrupt elements that lurk from within. In many cases, however, the hero's skills are not enough. His relationship and interaction with the community serves as a marker to determine how successful he will be. ...view middle of the document...

Kane (Garry Cooper), in High Noon directed by Fred Zinnemann (1952), is a more extroverted hero than Shane and has greater plans to reform the town than merely just driving out the criminal element. Kane's entry to the film is also much grander. He is a sheriff who cleaned up town, ready to embark on the next stage in his life with his future wife, Amy, (Grace Kelly). Moments after the ceremony he learned that the a dangerous criminal has been released and is returning to seek revenge. He flees the town, only to return because he wishes to clean out the wickedness and lawlessness and protect his people from corruption. This creates the allusion of Kane being a much more romantic hero and having greater plans than merely just wanting to build a safe community. To do this he introduces reforms that not only remove the criminal element, but also set a moral tone for the community. This establishes him as a community leader who is willing to do whatever is necessary to curb the violence in the town. People do not respect him for who he is and what he has done for the community, and not who he is as a person. This fact sets him apart from Shane. Kane's actions are dictated by his own morals and beliefs, not from any kind of loyalty or friendship to any individuals.The use of clocks in High Noon is emphasizes the importance of time and also provides a running commentary for the viewer on how much time Kane has left. The secondary storylines, such as the break up of Kane's marriage to Amy, Harvey's (Lloyd Bridges), resignation as deputy and Hellen's (Katy Jurado) background with Miller (Sheb Wooley), are supported by the use of real time editing. Kane's marriage occurred less than two hours before he heard the news of Frank's coming. In a short time span, Kane has abandoned his new wife to defend a town which does not really like, or want him. This action shows Kane's callousness but also his morals of responsibly and obligation. Harvey's resignation, and ultimate abandonment of Kane in his time of need, is emphasized using clocks because Harvey abandoned Kane an hour before Frank was due to arrive. This highlights not only the cowardice of Harvey, but also the loneliness Kane experienced. Hellen's background with Miller is not fully revealed, however the audience is aware of its severity due to real time editing. Hellen was preparing to liquidate her business at half-price, and leave her home town within a few hours after hearing of Miller's arrival. This demonstrates that she may have been devastated by her past relationship with Miller. Hellen and Amy both prepare to leave town on the noon train - the same train Miller is to arrive on. It is interesting that when the clock strikes noon, the frequent cutting to clocks comes to an end. The climax has been reached; noon has arrived with the train carrying Miller. The majority of the High Noon film, taking place prior to noon, is a build up to the arrival of Miller. As the minutes tick by, suspense and...

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