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High Noon, 1952, is a western film directed by Fred Zinnemann. He chose perfect actors for main characters. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly brought 4 Oscars and unbelievable success. It is a bit strange to see black and white film in the era of so many developments in Hollywood filmmaking industry. However, this trait makes this film amazing and so worth to be rated by lots of critics.

If analyzing typical western films, it is seen that they are romanticized stories that emphasize life stories of wanderers of the stunning American West and interlink them clear-cut moral tales based on the opinion of the society institute as stemming from principles of honor, instead of the ideas law dictates. That is why people have social hierarchy limited only to their family, some relatives and friends, or even just themselves.  When speaking about the film High Noon, it is easy to see that its plot and stories directly concern social and political situation of the time shown in the film. There are no depictions of landscapes viewers used to see in westerns. It is a kind of a parable or morality tale. Sheriff Will Kane decides to change his life with the help of a young and beautiful wife. This marriage clashes in time with his retirement day. And it is also the day his old enemy, Frank Miller, is released from prison and waiting for Kane to revenge. The plot really seems amazing, but after watching the film it is easy to see some fallacies about it. Too many of them were depicted throughout the film, such as begging the question, ad hominem, inconsistency, and slippery slope. The viewer can notice them all through the characters of the movie.

The movie begins with the scene where Kane and Amy start their journey for the honeymoon. Suddenly Kane decides to stop the carriage and to return. He understands, at the same time, “it is completely crazy”. Amy cannot get his action, but the answer to her questions is just, “I don’t have time to tell you”(Zinnemann). This scene perfectly explains begging the question. Kane is avoiding the question by mentionung shortage of time. However, the viewer can perfectly see that there was plenty of time Kane to explain Amy the reasons of his decision. The statement made by Kane is questionable. That is why he is definitely avoiding the question. Another good example of begging the question is the situation that happened in the church. In that scene one of the parishioners says, “If we don’t do what’s right, there is only one thing to do, and you all know what that is” (Zinnemann). The man does not answer the question “what is right”, but evades it.

An ad hominem is an argument made personally against the opponent instead of against his argument. (A good example of this fallacy is shown in the church scene where Kane steps in the middle of the mass and says, “I don’t want to disturb the services”, then the priest cries, “You already have, you don’t come to the church very often. When you got married today you didn’t see fit to marry here, what seems so important to bring you here” (Zinnemann). This is an example of Ad hominem because the priest does not pay attention to the reason Kane came to the church but to the person of Kane himself.

Slippery slope is the classical informal fallacy as well. In the case of slippery slope, one situation will start a chain of events concluding in an undesirable event later without establishing or reckoning the related incidents. An example of this fallacy in the movie is established by Kane looking for help. Almost everybody refuses, hides, or has fear. However, when some devoted people suggest their help, Kane refuses. He stays all alone in the noon, but his newly-made wife, he wanted the least to see in the fight, saves his life. This continuous refusals lead to unbelievable ending.

One more fallacy to observe is inconsistency. It occurs when a person accepts an inconsistent set of claims, that is, he accepts a claim that logically conflicts with other ones he holds. In the scene, Mrs. Ramirez decides to sell her store, Mr. Weaver says, “I mean, when you first called me in and put the deal to me about staking me in the store and being a silent partner. You know, my wife thought…” After that phrase he suddenly adds, “What I really mean to say is that you've been real decent to me right along. And I want you to know that I've been honest with you”. Was he really honest if he did not believe her to be a good partner and then immediately changed his mind? He definitely was not. The other example of inconsistency is when Amy changed her decision to leave the town and, thus, leave her husband. She is strict in her decision. However, she comes back after some words of Mrs. Ramirez. Amy tells herself she will not fight, but her coming back brings the outcome to this fight.

High Noon is not a film to be ignored. Sure, some viewers and fans of westerns can have problems with it, but it really sounds wonderful. The whole movie is about the loyalty of a town marshal Kane and the unfaithfulness of the town. Through the frame of this line, audience could notice a lot of fallacies. However, some of them do not make the film worse. They rather help to understand better the situation in the town and the nature of this or that character. It is possible to suggest a deliberate introduction of these fallacies into the plot. Cooper’s performance is extremely powerful and he really deserved Oscar for it.  Fallacies could be taken as some special thrills for the film to be realistic and alive.

Code: Sample20

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