Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Day of the Outlaw
The film, The Day of the Outlaw, presents a new attitude towards women in western films than seen in previous films. The women characters in this film are more prominent than in others, but still have many traditional qualities. Throughout the film, the women are constantly being fought over by the men. Blaise wishes to win Helen Crane, his former lover, back when he returns to town, however he learns that she is married to a farmer, Hal. Helen stands up for herself and informs Blaise that he cannot simply walk back into town and expect to see everything left the way it was when he departed. When Blaise left, Helen moved on with her life and found love in someone else. The film was created in 1959, right before the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. This was also after World War II where women filled the jobs of men while they were off at war. After World War II, women were forced out of the jobs they occupied during the war, and men continued to fill them. However, women had a taste of what it felt like to be independent, and would not soon forget the feeling. By the end of the fifties, the woman's movement was beginning to gain support, which eventually ended in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act. The role of women in western films can be tracked through the ideals of the time period the films were made in. This is why Helen is given a somewhat independent female role in The Day of the Outlaw. She serves as the reason Blaise returns to the town , after his trecherous journey thorugh the mountain, and stands up to Blaise on mulitple occasions, but still is dependent on her husband Hal.