Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day of the Outlaw

As a result of when Day of the Outlaw was filmed, 1959, women are seen more as human beings and less as objects, showing the effects of the civil rights movement. When the outlaws take over the town, Captain Jack Bruhn does not let his men hurt any of the women, although he allows his men to dance with them. Bruhn sees the women as people and does not let his men rape them, as what happens to many helpless females in westerns. The women also do their best to fight off the outlaws when they try to kiss them, and even slap them.
Helen Crane also breaks the mold of the traditional western female. When Blaise confesses his love to her she does not take him back but stays loyal to her husband. Most females in westerns show their weakness through their feelings, but Helen does not let her feelings for Blaise affect her marriage. She stands by the vows she made to her husband, rejecting Blaise.

1 comment:

  1. The Day of the Outlaw, filmed in 1959, displays unique women’s issues as a result of the events going on in society during the making of the film. It was made at the beginning of the women’s movement, changing the legal rights of women and giving them more power. Although legally women were becoming equal with men, men were still seen as dominant by society. Therefore, the beginning of the women’s movement created distorted women’s place in society by making it appear that they were equal with men. This distortion is displayed through the use of a blizzard, covering the ground and hiding the truth. The snow covers social wrongs, such as the inequality of women and lack of respect towards them. The relationships between the male and female characters are frightening, with the women being merely toys for the men to play with. For example, Bruhn has the women herded into a room and forces them to dance with his gang. The men of the town fear for the safety of the women, but Bruhn assures the men they will not be harmed or raped, unless Bruhn tells his men to do so. While dancing with the men, the women are being thrown around by the outlaws, looking more like rag dolls than fully grown females. The dance scene depicts the women as truly helpless. The women are only safe once Blaise, the alpha male cowboy, leads them away from town. Helen Crane appears to be a strong woman, staying with her husband instead of returning to Blaise, her former lover. Helen is not actually a strong female because although she is outspoken, she is protected by her marriage.