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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tin Star (released in 1957) starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins - another Western classic

The Tin star directed by Anthony Mann is adapted from a short story of the same name. The movie is considered as a classic in the genre of western films and was nominated for an Oscar for the best screenplay. Veteran Bounty hunter Morgan Hickman comes to a town to hunt an outlaw. The town Sheriff has been killed and is replaced by young Ben Owens. Ben Owens is inexperienced and does not have any people skills. His confidence levels are very low. He is struggling to maintain the law and order and especially is bullied by the brutish Neville.
Morgan Hickman ultimately captures the outlaw and brings him in dead. He is cold shouldered by the town people who treat him with contempt. But as Hickman puts it ”I don't mind the chill, I'm after money”. He has steeled himself for this reception and does not let him bother him. Initially Ben Owens also treat him the same way, but soon comes to know about his courage.
Ben wants to be the permanent sheriff of the town and needs to impress the people of the town with his skills. He feels that Morgan can help him in this department. He asks him to train him in fire arms.

Morgan initially skeptical, agrees to the bargain and soon he is imparting lessons to the young Owens. He takes a liking to Owens and imparts people management skills also. As Morgan says “A gun is only a tool, you can master it if you got the knack. It is harder to master people”.
During one such interaction Ben is astonished to know that Morgan was a sheriff a long time ago and wore the tin star. He was disillusioned by the the towns people who treat him shamefully when his wife and son was killed. He prefers to be a free bounty hunter with no conscience.
The film also deals with the problem of racism especially against the Indians. A widow is treated as an outcast for marrying an Indian and Morgan develops feelings for her and her son. Ultimately while training Ben, Morgan rediscovers himself and his love for the badge.

The Tin Star (released in 1957) starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins - another Western classic

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