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High Noon - Setting the Scene

by Michelle Langford

This is a clip from the first scene after the title sequence. Note how this town is presented as a town that has already been “cleaned up” by the sheriff (Garry Cooper). Today is his wedding day, and he plans to leave the town with his new bride (Grace Kelly). However, as we see in this clip, an unsavoury element returns to the town to upset the balance that Cooper had achieved by previously driving away the bad guys. Throughout the film, no-one will volunteer to help the sheriff against the returned bad guys, he must face them alone. ARTS1060 Student discussion questions: • What iconographic elements mark this as a Western? • How does your “generic competence” (your knowledge of genre traits) of the Western enable you or disable you from “reading” the two sequences? • How does the clip present a “cultural milieu” where inherent thematic conflicts will be played out by familiar characters? • How will the films end? How do we know this?

High Noon - Setting the Scene

Early scene where the bad guys ride into town

from High Noon (1952)
Creator: Fred Zinneman
Distributor: Criterion
Posted by Michelle Langford