Critical Analysis of Film

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Give a critical analysis of the Western Holly Wood film High Noon. This essay will focus on the current representation of women and men in the classical Holly Wood western film High Noon, focusing on the gender roles of each character and the stereotypical roles that are given. High Noon is a 1952 Western film directed by Fred Zinnemann, one which broke genre rules of masculine ideals and popular themes of cowboys and indians (Johans;1994). The male protagonist Marshal Kane (Gary Cooper ) starts out as the typical unambiguous, uncomplicated hero of a cowboy. He was represented and given the typical role of the handsome, older man who likes to be in charge however, unlike most cowboy films he turns in his badge to become a shopkeeper and live a nonviolent life with his beloved wife, Amy (Grace Kelly) This suggests that he is given up his authority, his manhood and the job of being the townspeople’s “hero.” Critic John Mellen described 50’s male heroes like Kane as ones that “revaluated the male psyche” as “ characters became less action – oriented, more psychologically introspective even sexually ambivalent” (Ben Johans; 1994). As we can see throughout the film this point made by Mellen is relevant however, in some sense we can see the stereotypical views of representation of men in this era when Marshall Kane hears that Frank Miller (the ostensible villain) will be arriving on the noon train with his gang to kill him. This is when he becomes the main man again and stands up for his town, even though the town’s people haven’t his back, like a true cowboy; he will finish what he started. An American cinema objectifies woman of the 1950’s as not having much diversity in their roles, but High Noon takes a different take of the norm for 50’s females. There are two types of women in these films: the civilizing woman who seeks to end violence and endorse the community; and the dark woman who understands the marshal and the need for violence (Matthew Costello;...
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