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The Movie “High Noon”

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There is an old African or Asian expression about how only mad dogs and Englishmen stay out in the hot midday sun. In the outstanding 1952 western movie “High Noon”, there were no Englishmen present. But it could be said that the desperados trying to gun down the local peace officer in the middle of the day were as dangerous as mad dogs. In the end the bad guys ended up as dead dogs thanks to the bravery and gunfighting prowess of the lawman, Will Kane (Gary Cooper), and the unexpected last-minute armed intervention of his girlfriend, Quaker Amy (Grace Kelly). In addition to this, the incident involving the township is one rollercoaster ride of disaster.

            What makes the incident a disaster? First of all, Will Kane undergoes “preparation”. He develops and enhances his relationship with Grace Kelly by marrying her. Then, he turned in his badge in order to prepare for another job, different from being the Marshal of Hadleyville. Then later on, he was able to gather information about the Frank Miller. Frank Miller played by Ian MacDonald, was a criminal who was pardoned due to technicality. He swore to get revenge on Kane because he was the one responsible in putting Miller into jail. Second, he carries out tasks which are correlated to the purpose of “mitigation” such as gathering involving pre-emptive activities. These activities would tend to increase his level of confidence in dealing with Frank Miller.

He gains the sympathy of his townspeople who provided him information and advice that he should leave town immediately to avoid confrontations. He also tried to combine the power of the other deputies by gathering them and by trying to provide them with disseminated activities in order to achieve their goal of bringing Frank Miller down; however, in this task, Will Kane was not that successful. Third, he acts or responds to the challenge that is presented to him. His “response” is characterized by using what equipments were available at that time. This includes commanding personnel who would be available in supporting his goal; ironically in the end it was his wife.

In addition to this, Will Kane reclaims his badge and increased his confidence with the title of Marshal. He faced the four gunmen alone and was able to shot two but he was wounded. Fourth, during their battle, the third gun man was killed by his wife, giving him time to recover and obtain support from somebody else. The last gunman was able to hold his wife, but his wife fought and gave him chance to shoot the gunman. When the townspeople emerged, he shared a post incident communication by throwing his badge in the dirt. He assessed how coward the townspeople were and left town with his wife as a response.

In addition to this, there are direct, indirect and secondary effects of the disaster. Direct effects would include the death of the four gunmen and the injury obtained by Will Kane. In this disaster, Frank Miller can be considered as the disaster agent and he planned to bring destruction to the life of Kane. Secondary effects would include the townspeople’s cowardly reaction or response.

The disaster had triggered them to run away, instead of fighting, thus showing their real color to Will Kane. The fear which struck the town is also a secondary effect of the disaster which was brought by Frank Miller. An indirect impact would be the response of Grace Kelly, who potentially became a new deputy. In addition to this, the response of Will Kane, of resigning totally as Marshall of Hadleyville by throwing his marshal’s star can also be considered as an indirect impact that rippled out from the area of direct damage.

By looking at the four temporal phases of disaster and by considering the three impact levels of disaster, it would be deduced and can be concluded that the incident involving the township is definitely one rollercoaster ride of disaster.


Zinnemann, F. (Director) (1952). High Noon. In S. Kramer & C. Foreman (Producer). United States: United Artists.

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