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  • Writer's pictureMarcelo Lewin

High Noon Continuity Editing Shot Breakdown

In my Art & Craft of Film Editing class at UCLA Extension we are studying classic continuity editing, specifically, from the 1930s to 1960s Hollywood Era and how, as part of the homework, we had to pick a film and do a complete breakdown of a particular scene we were interested in.


I chose to watch High Noon (1952), directed by Fred Zinnermann, screenplay by Carl Foreman and edited by Elmo Williams. For those not familiar with the film, it's about Wil Kane, a recently married town Marshal that just retired and is about to leave on his honeymoon, but an outlaw (Frank Miller) he put away years ago and was recently released, is coming back to town to seek revenge. He must stay to fight and defend the town. But he needs the town's help to fight Frank Miller and that's what most of the movie is about, convincing the town to help him fight and defeat Frank Miller.


The scene I chose to break down is the Church scene where Kane goes to try to convince the parishioners to join him in the fight against Frank Miller.


Cut #: -

Time Code: 00:43:18

Shot Type: Establishing

Shot Description: This establishes that Marshal Kane is about to go into the church.


Cut #: 1

Time Code: 00:43:25

Shot Type: Master

Shot Description: Establishes the inside of the church. Shows where all the action is about to take place.


Cut #: 2

Time Code: 00:43:37

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Sets up the tension that's about to happen inside the church as the Marshal confronts all of the parishioners for help.


Cut #: 3

Time Code: 00:43:40

Shot Type: Long

Shot Description: Used to show the people the Marshal is about to confront.


Cut #: 4

Time Code: 00:43:43

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Reverse shot.


Cut #: 5

Time Code: 00:43:47

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Showing the priest's annoyance with the Marshal interrupting service and the fact that he doesn't appreciate the Marshal as a person in general. Also enhanced the uncomfortable feeling the Marshal already has about asking for help.


Cut #: 6

Time Code: 00:43:56

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Shows how unsure and uncomfortable he is to be at Church, not just asking for help, but in general.


Cut #: 7

Time Code: 00:44:01

Shot Type: Long to Medium

Shot Description: Used to allow the Marshal to build up the guts to confront the priest and the parishioners for what he's about to ask of them.


Cut #: 8

Time Code: 00:44:10

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Shows how vulnerable he is and how much he really needs help from the people.


Cut #: 9

Time Code: 00:44:18

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Shows how the priest is listening to the Marshal's reasons for being there and having a change of heart about him.


Cut #: 10

Time Code: 00:44:28

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Confronting the crowd.


Cut #: 11

Time Code: 00:44:32

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Shows the reaction of the crowd as they hear the news of Frank Miller coming back to town.


Cut #: 12

Time Code: 00:44:36

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Shows his desperation for needing help.


Cut #: 13

Time Code: 00:44:47

Shot Type: Wide to Closeup to...(via blocking, no cuts)

Shot Description: Showing the confusion and reactions for the parishioners.


Cut #: 14

Time Code: 00:44:54

Shot Type: Long

Shot Description: The start of the arguments on both sides of the people that want to help and those that don't.


Cut #: 15

Time Code: 00:45:00

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Emphasizes the confrontation with and the anger of the Marshal.


Cut #: 16

Time Code: 00:45:05

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Emphasizes the uncomfortable feeling the Marshal feels about getting help. Also shows a feeling of realization that he may not get any help.


Cut #: 17

Time Code: 00:45:13

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Shows the chaos and the lack of agreement as to what to do between the people of the town


Cut #: 18

Time Code: 00:45:18

Shot Type: Medium Closeup to Closeup to...

Shot Description: Use to stop the chaos and refocus the scene into this person taking control of the situation to help bring a resolution.


Cut #: -

Time Code: 00:45:24

Shot Type: Medium (via blocking, no cuts)

Shot Description: A re-blocking of the previous shot.


Cut #: 19

Time Code: 00:45:27

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Sets up the fact that the town is safe enough to leave the children alone outside. Which is one of the arguments for helping the Marshal as he helped cleaned up the town.


Cut #: 20

Time Code: 00:45:34

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Shows the friendship and respect between them.




Cut #: 21

Time Code: 00:45:37

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Again emphasizing how the kids are free to play and the parents don't have to worry about them, providing evidence that not fighting Frank Miller will be bad for the town.


Cut #: 22

Time Code: 00:45:41

Shot Type: Extreme Wide

Shot Description: Emphasizing the danger that is about to come.


Cut #: 23

Time Code: 00:45:46

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Killing time, waiting for Frank Miller.


Cut #: 24

Time Code: 00:46:09

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: This one was a bit confusing to me as it feels like a medium shot, but the focus is on the people in front of the guy, so I listed this as a wide shot showing the arguments transpiring.


Cut #: 25

Time Code: 00:46:21

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Continuation of the arguments for and against fighting back.


Cut #: 26

Time Code: 00:46:29

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Cutaway shot.


Cut #: 27

Time Code: 00:46:33

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: More arguments against fighting back.


Cut #: 28

Time Code: 00:46:48

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Controlling the crowd. More arguments from the crowd about why they should fight.


Cut #: 29

Time Code: 00:47:04

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Showing the anguish this person is going through hearing the arguments for not helping the Marshal. Also shows his support for the Marshal.


Cut #: 30

Time Code: 00:47:09

Shot Type: Closeup / Insert

Shot Description: The emotional impact this speech by the person from the previous show is having on him.


Cut #: 31

Time Code: 00:47:13

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Continuation of cut # 29.


Cut #: 32

Time Code: 00:47:21

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Continuing to direct the conversation. To me it's used as a cutaway to cut between the people speaking.


Cut #: 33

Time Code: 00:47:23

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Another argument against fighting back.


Cut #: 34

Time Code: 00:47:35

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Showing anger building towards the parishioners.


Cut #: 35

Time Code: 00:47:41

Shot Type: Medium Long (Cowboy shot)

Shot Description: More people defending how the Marshal helped clean up the town.


Cut #: 36

Time Code: 00:47:58

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Shows escalating arguments.


Cut #: 37

Time Code: 00:48:02

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Reaction shot.


Cut #: 38

Time Code: 00:48:07

Shot Type: Closeup / Insert

Shot Description: Shows concern about the time left before Frank Miller arrives.


Cut #: 39

Time Code: 00:48:10

Shot Type: Medium

Shot Description: Putting the priest on the spot to say something. Emphasizing how the lack of support comes from the top.


Cut #: 40

Time Code: 00:48:19

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Emphasizing the priest's speech. His lack of conviction. How he's hiding behind religion to provide an answer.


Cut #: 41

Time Code: 00:48:33

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Used to bring sympathy to Marshal Kane.


Cut #: 42

Time Code: 00:48:46

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Used to emphasize his words. Bring importance to his speech.


Cut #: 43

Time Code: 00:48:56

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Cutaway shot.


Cut #: 44

Time Code: 00:49:06

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Continuation of edit # 42.


Cut #: 45

Time Code: 00:49:10

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Insert shot. Used to convey Kane's concern for the words just spoken ("There's going to fighting when Kane and Miller meet").


Cut #: 46

Time Code: 00:49:13

Shot Type: Medium Long (Cowboy shot)

Shot Description: Used to show Kane's reaction to his friend's speech.


Cut #: 47

Time Code: 00:49:42

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Cutaway shot.


Cut #: 48

Time Code: 00:49:50

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Continuation of his speech from cut # 46, but also used to emphasize how he wants Kane to leave town again.


Cut #: 49

Time Code: 00:50:03

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Reaction shot to what his friend just said (for him not to be here). Showing his shock.


Cut #: 50

Time Code: 00:50:04

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Continuation from cut # 48. Also emphasizing (by looking at Kane), how he should leave to save the town.


Cut #: 51

Time Code: 00:50:10

Shot Type: Medium Closeup

Shot Description: Reaction shot. Insert. His anger is building.


Cut #: 52

Time Code: 00:50:18

Shot Type: Medium Long

Shot Description: Showing Kane's disappointment toward's his friend's speech. Also showing his friend's discomfort for having to give that speech.


Cut #: 53

Time Code: 00:50:35

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Reaction shot. Insert. His anger and disappointment as he looks at his friend and then later turns towards the crowd.


Cut #: 54

Time Code: 00:50:38

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Insert shot. Shows how the crowd is ashamed of how they are about to act (not supporting Kane on the fight with Miller). Everyone looking away from him.


Cut #: 55

Time Code: 00:50:42

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Feeling disappointed.


Cut #: 56

Time Code: 00:50:44

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Showing how his friend understands his disappointment in him, but emphasizing how he is doing this for his and the town's best interest.


Cut #: 57

Time Code: 00:50:45

Shot Type: Closeup

Shot Description: Feeling completely disappointed and with anger towards his friend and the crowd.


Cut #: 58

Time Code: 00:50:47

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Walking out defeated and feeling alone against this upcoming fight.


Cut #: 59

Time Code: 00:50:54

Shot Type: Wide

Shot Description: Kane walking out of the church as the kids are playing. This to me is a very important closing shot for this scene as it shows how the kids are happy, playing by themselves without any supervision, something that would have never happened without Kane's fight to keep the town clean and safe for families against people like Miller. Now, he's alone, without any support from the people that he helped.


Until the next article!

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