High Noon 1952 Film Analysis

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.

Reception Theory,

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.

Gratification Theory,

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

of honour.

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


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prolonging ‘High Noon’ and poses the restrictive questioning of how the events building up to this event took place and how it

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.


One Response to High Noon 1952 Film Analysis

  1. nayrbgo says:

    whoa! Great work here!

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