I myself am not a great fan of the country/western genre of film; however, I very much enjoyed the 1950 film High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann. The film, starring Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane, and Grace Kelly as his wife Amy Kane, was very well directed and cast. It is not the typical western that I am used to seeing with drunken cowboys participating in huge bar room brawls at the local saloon with unscripted shootouts. In fact, John Wayne actually stated that the film was "un American" saying that it did not portray the patriotic aspect of the Old West because it lacked these things. However, in the film there is a bar scene, a fight, and a shootout as well, they are very tasteful and each scene plays an important and relevant role in the film by developing the plot.
As well as steering away from the typical western scene, Zinnemann also makes High Noon unique by being shot in real time. The movie takes place between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., which was how long the actual movie was. Zinnemann used the clocks as a symbol of how much time Marshal Kane had left before the noon train arrived. Each time the clock was shown in a shot it was larger and larger, showing the importance of the time that was running out. The constant showing of the clock kept me interested and it added to the excitement of the arrival of Frank Miller on the train. I think that it added to the interest level and suspense of the film.
Another aspect of the film that separates it from other westerns that I have seen is that there is a side interest with Amy Kane and Helen Ramirez (Katy Jurado). Not only was I concerned with if Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is going to arrive on the noon train and start trouble in the town, there was the conflict with a love triangle between the two women and Marshall Kane. This also kept me interested in the movie and it built an interest in the characters lives as well. At the end when Amy shoots Frank Miller to save Marshal Kane, I felt a sense of relief to know that they were going to stay together and that the town had been saved. In all, I think this movie was very unique and very good for the western genre.