Examine the opening five minutes of ‘High Noon’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, and ‘Unforgiven’

Examine the opening five minutes of ‘High Noon’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, and ‘Unforgiven’. Discuss what each of the directors seek to achieve in these sequences and how they locate their film within the genre. The three films ‘High Noon’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, and ‘Unforgiven’ are all classic films that are located in the Western genre. Principally these Westerns are set between the period 1860 to 1900 and often located to the west of the Missouri and the Mississippi.

The production of these three films p through a period of 40 years from 1952 to 1992 showing a change and progression in the style of filming. From examining the opening five minutes of each of the three films and with great reference to the key concepts I shall be able to establish what notions build a Western and analyse how effectively they are used within each of the three films. High Noon directed by Fred Zinnemann was produced in 1952 and tells the story of Miller, a renowned villain who was sentenced in the town of Hadleyville to a lifetime imprisonment in Texas.

Much to the town’s distress Miller is released and back with a vengeance and together with a group of other villains they return to Hadleyville to seek revenge on the town’s sheriff. This is a story about the final triumph of good over evil yet also touches upon other subjects like testing friendships and the rise of women in power. This was the first film to use real time, by 1957 it was being parodied. High Noon begins with a non-diagetic soundtrack, ‘Don’t forsake me, oh my darling,’ which tells the story that is to follow.

The film opens with a wide shot of the great grassy plains with a lone rider in the distance, showing great iconography of a typical Western scene. Its narrative clues are very strong in the first five minutes where the essentially ‘bad’ characters are here shown with the stereotypical look of being roughly shaven and wearing ragged clothes and a Stetson hat. This is further backed up when they ride into the town, where people shocked and scared by their appearance stop immediately what they are doing and some even run to hide.

One Spanish woman crosses herself when she sees them showing their bad reputation and is obvious here, that they are not often at that town and it is not a welcomed sight. There is a great contrast here between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ mainly between Will Kane and Miller. In almost everyway they are opposite relating to Claud Levi-Strauss idea on binary oppositions. The connotation of colour is very noticeable here, where the bad guys are all wearing dark colours and ride on black horses in contrast to Will Kane who is about to wed Amy who is wearing white which reflects their innocence.

This film uses conventions effectively to locate itself in the Western genre. It is located in a small town with one high street that is lined with tall wooden buildings. It also includes the familiar saloon and sheriff’s office. These all link together to provide a representation of the stereotypical image of a western town. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid directed by George Roy Hill (1969) is based on a true story that follows the lives of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who are famous for great bank and train robberies.

After many successful takes they encounter resistance and in a bid for freedom flee the country. This film takes the idea away from the evil cowboy and by the end of the film you feel less anger for them as in most Westerns but like them and feel a sense of sorrow and pity for them. This film opens with a short film reel shot in sepia. It tells of one of their many great train robberies as ‘the hole in the wall gang. ‘ The sepia is a good reflection of the period of which this film is located, it also highlights and emphasises iconography of Westerns straight away.

It then cuts out of sepia to the next scene in which Butch is examining the security of the town’s bank in preparation for the robbery. There is a lot of exposure to the heavy bars and strong locks, obviously new, and unforeseen, Butch asks the bank teller “What happened to the old bank, it was beautiful”, the bank teller replies, “People kept robbing it! ” Like High Noon the way Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are dressed reflects their personality and means that they can be more easily recognised. As well the bad guy is well renowned and scares a lot of people.

Here, the Sundance Kid is well known for his precise firing aim, shown in the scene where the Sundance Kid is playing cards and his opponent accuses him of cheating not knowing who he is, “I didn’t know you were the Sundance Kid when I accused you of cheating… If I draw on you, you’ll kill me. ” He then asks him how good of a shooter he actually is, the Sundance Kid then demonstrates this and shows to the audience his character whereas Butch Cassidy appears to be a lot more rational and ‘the brains’ behind the operations. The Sundance Kid is very sombre and does not show much facial expression.

Male pride is very dominant in this film, especially among the Sundance Kid, where his reputation is very important and must be maintained to uphold the ‘bad guy’ image. Unforgiven is the most recently produced film of the three, made in 1992 and directed by Clint Eastwood who also stars and won 4 Oscars. It follows the story of William Munny, a notorious killer who is offered the chance to earn a large sum of money by reverting to his old ways and killing two cowboys. The story line develops to show a more in depth side of the stereotypical villain of the West and the corruptness of people who are supposed to be on the ‘good’ side.

This film demonstrates 3 themes common to the Western genre: Love, honour, and loyalty. The opening shot of the film has a simple scene of William Munny tending to his wife’s grave in a silhouette cast by a glowing sunset. This is further explained by the use of a short paragraph that tells of Munny’s past. The first few minutes shows how William Munny has become much more of a settled family man since his wife died and so his gangster days are long gone and now owns and runs a ranch with his two children, whom can further accentuate his now much more innocent personality.

Due to his presence as a family man we do not initially see him as a villain, and due to the different nature of the story, whereby Munny is asked to kill the villains who cut up the young girl’s face, which is well deserved, it makes the audience portray Munny more as a hero, who was only looking out for the best interests of his family. This first scene of tranquillity is contrasted by a stormy second scene as it makes the change from the country to a small Western town, and gives a narrative clue that something that could upset the equilibrium is about to take place.

There is a shot emphasising the sign saying billiards upstairs and then we see women being paid for sex. Screaming then breaks the silence and the pace is speeded up using fast editing which portrays the commotion that’s taking place. This is stopped abruptly with the pointing of a gun. As in many Western films women are used to demonstrate the issue of male power and pride at this time in history. Within Unforgiven Little Bill, the town sheriff, talks to the head prostitute with little respect and does not listen to her opinion.

Within the three films I have examined all three directors use similar iconography to portray the familiar Western scene and the villains always wearing dark clothes, with roughly cut hair and stubble around the mouth. The hero of a Western will always contrast the bad guy. The main themes that are covered are; male pride, loyalty and honour. Women are used repeatedly to show male power in society and are used as mere objects. High Noon is a base that most Western films use and its ideas are often revised. Tying together narrative theories, iconography and typical themes makes these film fit into the Western genre.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
Excellent work ,always done early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
FIN571
excellent
Customer 452773, March 15th, 2024
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and effort. Made a 96 out of 125 points Lacked information from the rubic
Customer 452773, October 27th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent
Customer 452773, July 11th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, July 17th, 2023
Social Work and Human Services
Although it took 2 revisions I am satisfied but I did receive it late because of that.
Customer 452603, March 25th, 2021
Sociology
THANK YOUUUUU
Customer 452591, March 18th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
excellent job
Customer 452773, March 12th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
looks good thank you
Customer 452773, March 3rd, 2023
Leadership Studies
awesome work as always
Customer 452773, August 19th, 2023
BUSINESSADMINECO535
excellent work
Customer 452773, October 6th, 2023
Business Studies
Thank you very much for a good job done and a quick turn around time.
Customer 452615, March 31st, 2021
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp