High Noon 1952
Codes of Conventions, Genre Reading, ‘High Noon’
Post war Western Genre Utilizing ‘The Marshal Story’ with elements edging on
‘The Revenge Story’ and the ‘Empire Story’. The Marshal story revolves around the sheriffs right and duty to protect the town and
uphold the rights and moral codes of lawman of the west genre and convenes to most codes of convention of the traditional western.
The Revenge story has its clear paths set on the need to stand up for injustice and moral codes of convictions for westerns,
Normalizing around revenge of family, friends of central character. Empire story is based on the theory of industrialization of the
empire lands in the western era and how people adapted to these changes many spin-off genres have used this story to revitalize or
re-image of cross genre film.
Based around the individuals personal response/interpretation to literary or Media given there cultural and social
backgrounds as a whole which suggests as long as the viewers are from differing cultural and social back ground life experiences
there views may differ greatly based on this theory.
Usefulness: Enables you to gain a clear perspective on a trend or convention of media subjects (Audience) and psycho-analyze them
based on their cultural and social back ground forming strategies for successful production into the that social trend.
This Theory uses an inverted style flipping the focus onto the viewer/Audience rather than the actual media on
view. It uses this to proactively reanalyze the viewer rather that the media content and how they use it into order to gratify their own
needs by seeking out and integrating this media into their own personal climates. Which intern suggests the audience peruses an
active role in seeking out said media to gratify this need.
Usefulness: Shows you clearly the aims and goals and perception of media based on the characteristics of that given subject detailed
analysis of subject would be advisable for correct reading and pscyco-analystic reports and viewers personal gratifications on a sub
conscious level based on there needs/desires.
Theory comparison and analysis (overview)
By utilizing both theories correctly one can draw conclusions into how a person retroactively analyzes media on a primal and sub
level, Reception theory having the draw back of using trends and algorithms in social and cultural climates to gain an effective reading
as opposed to treating the audience as a whole or similar unit of annalistic review. Gratification theory on the other hand using
pscyco-analystic methods to gain an incite into how an individual person perceives media has its disadvantages as well in that this
method would take a longer time to draw an accurate conclusion and would require in dept analysis into each audience member
some of which may be reluctant to share personal information of a sensitive nature. Having analyzed both theories my opinion is that
these theory would gain a vivid incite into how you could effectively target markets and categorize potential client basses into groups
and uses this data to gain an incite into how a current genre’s, codes and conventions, Diegesis and many other analytical terms and
practices could be applied to that given (group, audience, social class, race, economical and political standings) of the analysis/s on
High Noon Facts
‘High noon’ production was made during the Mc Cathy era 1952 this factor implies that it could be stepped in political significance far
out of place from the simple plot depicted by director Frank Zinnemann cowboy western ‘High Noon’ semiotics used in this piece
where produced by screenwriter Carl Foreman, A man who fell prey to McCarthy’s anti communist romp through Hollywood’s a-list.
Joseph McCarthy was in office from January 3 1947- may 2, 1957. With a three-year military service he made the rank of captain in
world war two and was awarded a distinguished flying cross. Carl Foreman was an American screenwriter and film producer who
wrote ‘High Noon’ he was not credited for his associate producer role when the film was released in 1952. He was blacklisted by the
Hollywood movie studio system for six years for not naming the members of an American Communist Party he was involved in for
more than ten years. Foreman based his screenplay on ‘The Tin Star’ a two page magazine story. Played out in “Real time” – the
ninety minutes in which the incidents take place correspond to the ninety minute running time of the film denoted by zinnemann’s artful
use of a clock (semiotics) as a marker that contributes to the tension, starting at ten forty am on a Sunday in a fictional frontier town of
Hadleyville. ‘ High Noon’ was branded ‘Un-American’ by John Wayne of the motion picture Alliance for the preservation of American
ideals. Cast and crew members were also effected, Howland Chamberlin was blacklisted, while Floyd Crosby and Lloyd Bridges
were gray listed.
Textual Analysis based on High Noon 1952 and Western Genre Film
Western Codes and Conventions familiar in ‘High Noon’: Horses, Alcoholism, Gun Fights, Dusty and rugged terrain, Open expanse of
land in long shots, Lone gunman vs. many, Cowboy hats and aperitif, Sheriffs Badge, Standing for justice law and order, Moral code
How It Challenged Western Codes and Conventions: Tossing down of the sheriffs badge at the end scene, Moral and religious codes
where challenged both in the church scene and how Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) refusal for the church to interfere with Kains
plight. Amy Fowler Kane (Grace Kelly) Kains Quaker bride resorting to violence and going against her Moral and religious code by
killing to defend her husband in the final stand-off. Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell’s role (Lloyd Bridges) as the alcoholic who turns on
Kain and removes himself from the central theme of the film by passively letting things happen which wasn’t the trend at the time and
flew in the face of traditional conventions codes of conduct for a western genre film.
Archetype: Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) coming on the Noon train symbolizing the greater enemy of people’s inner struggles with
themselves internally or externally conquering inner fears or factors out of ones control systems.
Semiotics: Use the use of the chair and the clock in-synchronization to the non-Diegetic theme song also wide shots of open western
scenery and large wide shots of open rugged terrain conforming to codes and conventions of a western and shots of the trail tracks
where the impending Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is due to arrive at high noon, Leave the signs and symbols.
Mimesis: This is centred around Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) plight to drum up help to aid him against Frank Miller (Ian
MacDonald) posses of hardened killers waiting to greet him at high noon for the showdown.
Non-Diegetic: The theme song which is played from start to finish of the film repeated in sections and accurately depicts the events
which enfold during the 90 minutes of the films running time played over the top of the films sound in which only the viewer can hear
and the cast of the film are unaffected or are aware of this action being enforced.
Narrative Structure: Mostly the Narrative for ‘High Noon’ is linear clearly describing the event which are due to take place at ‘High
Noon’ and conform to the formula that the bad guy will face justice for the gratification of the audience which is also present in the
theme song for ‘High Noon’ and the general feel of the film.
Restrictive Narrative: Key elements of restrictive narrative point towards the chair scene where the films main plot is formed and the
effect the films central characters psychologically.
Non-Restrictive Narrative: There are many parts to ‘High Noon’ Narrative structure which are non-restrictive most point to ward the
upcoming showdown between Kains and Millers posses and draw the viewer into the struggle emotionally and mentally coming to
terms with the lack of support or attempt to stand up Kains plight.
Iconography: The Lasting image of picture of Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) will and has stylized as a standard for this era and still
is clear even today the last effect of the Iconography and historical importance of ‘High Noon’.
Misen-en-scene: ‘High Noon’ Done this quite effectively by informing the viewer the exact details of the story’s plot in the title theme
song which is a clever symbolism for the tone and feel of the film. Another great example of Misen-en-scene was the dialog free intro
landscapes of the band of violent killers banding together in the wilds of American native territory.
Diegesis: Helen (Katy Jurado) lets you know of a past relationship between Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) and herself and how
Marshal Will Kane was involved romantically with her prolonging the films flow by allowing the viewer to learn about these past
experiences between the cast of the film.
My Analysis on both theory readings (Overview)
In reflection ‘High Noon’ is an Iconic film for its time and based on both theories for me drew a striking similarity to my own life
experiences by accurately depicting what Old west life was really like and how things went down on a street level so to speak
something which was frowned upon in the era it was made and surprisingly historically depicts the wild west how the west was won in
a historical era where government links and interest into the control and regulation of media post world war two cold war America and
is based around the reception theory.