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SUBJECTS -- U.S./The Frontier & the West, 1865 - 1913, and 1945 -
1991 (the Red Scare); Cinema; Literature/Myths of the Western
genre; Literary devices: allegory; symbol; motif; & opposition;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Marriage; Leadership; Courage;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Responsibility.
Age: 11+; Not rated; Drama; 1952; 85 minutes; B & W.
An outlaw recently released from jail is on his way back to the town he had once terrorized. His gang has reassembled, waiting for him to arrive on the noon train. Will the townspeople band together to resist? Will the marshal, recently retired and scheduled to leave town that very day, resume his duties or keep to his plans to depart? If the marshal stays, who will back him?
For U.S. History and Government Classes: This film comments on the political and business leaders who did not resist the excesses of the McCarthyites and the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The film itself is an artifact of history, being one of the few American movies as to which the filmmakers had to disguise the political implications of their movie in order to get the film made.
For English Language Arts Classes: High Noon is an example of allegory and the use of opposition, symbol and motif. It is considered to be one of the best Westerns ever made; it is an excellent basis for teaching about the myths of the Western genre (The American Adam -- the Western hero, The American Eve, The Child Savior, The Edenic Myth, etc.), some of which are still important in the cultures of the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
For all classes: This film teaches the meaning of courage, loyalty, leadership, and the responsibilities of friends and married couples to each other.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to High Noon will help teachers show the real meaning of this film and supplement courses on U.S. history.
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High Noon is a great Western and a great allegory of cowardice in the face of the Red Baiters of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to High Noon.
In most Westerns, the hero takes on the bad guys without ever experiencing fear or self-doubt. High Noon is not most Westerns. Will Kane admits to being afraid and his actions are constantly being called into question by his wife, the townspeople, and his friends. High Noon is not merely an action adventure set in the Wild West; it's a study in character.
The Learning Guide to the film High Noon contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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