Friday, June 19, 2015

High Noon (1952)

For the past few weeks, I've been watching black and white films.  This makes my husband mad.  I don't expect him to watch everything or even like any film I watch.  Sometimes I don't even like the films I watch.  But he gets so mad he leaves the room.  So I finally asked him why he leaves.

It turns out he doesn't like the fact he has never seen a non-white person on the screen in a black and white film (he's Native American or more accurately First Nation since his tribe's from Canada).  So I told him that the reason this is is because we show up in film (because of the higher contrast between white skin and grey picture). If a non-white person like him was to be filmed in black and white, they'd appear like an unlocked character in a video game.
What my husband might look like
in a black and white film
The best part about this is that he totally believes me and is now ranting to anyone who will listen about the injustice of this.  I told him that is why color film was invented and also why there are no old photos of his family.  I suppose one day he will find out the truth but I'm not going to tell him. It is too funny.

Today's film is High Noon, which is obviously a black and white film.  It starts off with a really old guy sheriff marrying a young beautiful Quaker woman, Amy.  Already the believability of this film is gone! Why would someone who opposes gun use and violence marry a Wild West sheriff? Makes no sense.    Also I don't want to see them make out because he is old.  I don't even care if they were dating in real life because I don't want to see it.  

Then, someone that he sent to jail long ago has been released and is returning to town to kill him.  The old sheriff tries to round up a posse but no one cares.  This part is actually realistic.  The bad guy isn't trying to kill me, actually he hasn't done anything wrong to me or my family at all, so why should I care?

We have no idea how the sheriff or Amy met, but even more mysterious - who is Mrs. Ramirez?  We find out that she owns the hotel and stuff, and she hasn't spoken to the sheriff in a year.  Why? Did they used to go out? Who broke it off?  So many questions.  Mrs. Ramirez does the sensible thing and leaves town when the bad guys come.  Amy changes her mind at the last minute and goes back to town to find her husband.  She originally was going to leave him if he stayed to gunfight or whatever so that proves how loyal she is.  He's a sheriff.  He uses guns.  Get over it.  Since no one else will help him, she shoots and kills one of the bad guys because of course that makes sense.

John Wayne called this film un-American, but he was a racist who hated Native Americans so fuck him. I didn't see anything particularly anti-American about this film.  It has some allegory to communism but everything in the 1950's was about communism.  It's a nice film if you like westerns.  I will give this film a 6/10.


  1. That is a great prank on your husband. I love it. I hope he is the forgiving kind.
    Also I bet he does not like actors doing red-face as make believe natives.

    1. Thanks, he will find out the truth someday.

  2. Funny story about your husband. I worked with a woman who refused to watch black and white films just because she felt she was watching less than a whole film. I couldn't even get her to watch Casablanca.

    I like High Noon more than you, I feel it's one of the greatest westerns ever made.

    For what it's worth #1 - she was marrying him because he agreed to eschew violence, which is why he was leaving the sheriff job. It was his insistence on stopping the bad guys that put a rift between them.

    For what it's worth #2 - the allegory is actually about McCarthyism. That's why Wayne hated it. He was staunchly in support of McCarthy and naming names. Those who refused found themselves abandoned by their friends, much like Will Kane in this movie. He alone stands up to the evil, just like the people who stood up to McCarthy felt.

    And for a contrast, watch On the Waterfront, which is the other side's allegory for the same situation. In this case, doing the right thing IS naming names.

    1. Doesn't Mccarthyism violate the first amendment? How did people even let that happen?

    2. I'm certainly no judge or lawyer, but I believe that McCarthyism would not have been considered a violation of the First Amendment since it wasn't Congress passing a law telling people they couldn't be a member of a certain group; it was McCarthy and his people "investigating" (read: intimidating) Hollywood studios into not hiring people thought to be in a particular group. Of course, McCarthy was discredited before any legal challenge would have been able to make it to the Supreme Court. It takes several years for cases to work their way up to it.

    3. Oh, thank you for explaining it to me.