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High Noon

High Noon(1952)

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High Noon (1952)

SYNOPSIS

Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is looking forward to his honeymoon with his new bride Amy (Grace Kelly). But as he and his wife prepare to leave town, Kane is informed that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), his former nemesis, is out of jail and on the way to Hadleyville for a showdown with him. Not one to back down from a confrontation, Kane decides to postpone his honeymoon and face the murderous outlaw and his gang. However, as the lone sheriff attempts to enlist some of the townspeople to help him, he quickly discovers that no one is willing to risk their life beside him. As the minutes tick away toward the final showdown, Kane prepares to meet his fate alone.

Producer: Stanley Kramer, Carl Foreman
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Screenplay: Carl Foreman, based on the story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham
Cinematography: Floyd Crosby
Editing: Elmo Williams
Music: Dimitri Tiomkin
Art Direction: Ben Hayne
Cast: Gary Cooper (Marshal Will Kane), Grace Kelly (Amy Kane), Thomas Mitchell (Jonas Henderson), Lloyd Bridges (Harvey Pell), Katy Jurado (Helen Ramirez), Otto Kruger (Judge Percy Mettrick), Lon Chaney, Jr. (Martin Howe), Harry Morgan (Sam Fuller), Ian MacDonald (Frank Miller), Lee Van Cleef (Jack Colby), Sheb Wooley (Ben Miller).
BW-85m. Closed captioning.

Why High Noon is Essential

Among the many themes inherent in the Western genre, the division between civilization and lawlessness has always been a major issue. Usually, a representative from civilized society (a sheriff, a rancher, an army officer) is called upon to battle the forces of lawlessness, whether they are outlaws, greedy landowners, or Indians. The outcome usually results in a return to normalcy for the community with the antagonists vanquished and the hero riding off into the sunset, his mission accomplished. Alan Ladd's mysterious title character in Shane (1953), directed by George Stevens, is a classic example of the archetypal Western hero, one who upholds and protects the morality and laws of a civilized community against those who threaten its existence in the vast Western landscape.

But in High Noon, we are presented with something quite different. On the surface, Hadleyville is a long-established community with a vibrant commerce, an active church, and a history of stable law enforcement. But beneath the facade of respectability are major flaws in the infrastructure. The town, which was once terrorized by Frank Miller, is now faced with his return from prison (his death sentence was commuted to life but he was paroled early for good behavior). Yet, except for the marshal, the townspeople seem unconcerned about the effect this will have on their community. They refuse to get involved, take a stand or rally to the side of the man who is responsible for their safe and comfortable existence. Even the marshal's good friend, William Fuller (Harry Morgan), hides inside his house with his wife and refuses to come to the door when Kane pays a visit. As the couple watch the marshal walk away, Fuller stands next to his ashamed wife and asks her if she would rather have him alive or dead in the street. Yet, his cowardice is not unusual; the entire town is reluctant to defend their freedom against an obvious threat to it. This issue of moral responsibility is what makes High Noon unique among Westerns and raises the question, is civilization really worth fighting for?

In his biography, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: A Life in Hollywood, Stanley Kramer had this to say about High Noon: "From the start, many of the people around me felt I was bent on a bootless project. I hired Gary Cooper to play the marshal because he was still a star, even though he was no longer at the height of his popularity. I thought he would give the picture the stature and attention it needed. It is, after all, a difficult story to define. It's a story filled with tense anticipation but very little action. Since all those who read it thought of it as a Western, they expected to see guns blazing and horses galloping everywhere. In our minds, though, it wasn't an action picture. We didn't even think of it as a Western."

Director Fred Zinnemann also voiced his own opinions about High Noon in his biography, A Life in the Movies: "The story seems to mean different things to different people. (Some speculate that it is an allegory on the Korean War!) Kramer, who had worked closely with (Carl) Foreman on the script, said it was about 'a town that died because no one there had the guts to defend it.' Somehow this seemed to be an incomplete explanation. Foreman saw it as an allegory on his own experience of political persecution in the McCarthy era. With due respect I felt this to be a narrow point of view. First of all I saw it simply as a great movie yarn, full of enormously interesting people. I vaguely sensed deeper meanings in it; but only later did it dawn on me that this was not a regular Western myth....To me it was the story of a man who must make a decision according to his conscience. His town - symbol of a democracy gone soft - faces a horrendous threat to its people's way of life....It is a story that still happens everywhere, every day....The entire action was designed by Foreman and Kramer to take place in the exact screening time of the film - less than ninety minutes."

High Noon proved to be a huge critical and popular success when released and garnered seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture prior to the 1953 Academy Awards® ceremony that year (It won statues for Gary Cooper (Best Actor), Best Film Editing, Best Music Score and Best Song ("Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'"), which was performed in the film by Tex Ritter; it also became a hit for Western balladeer Frankie Laine). Kramer noted in his previously mentioned biography "that High Noon's defeat in the Oscar® race by Cecil B. DeMille's circus picture, The Greatest Show on Earth, had to be largely political, and I'm not referring to the unspoken old-boy politics of Hollywood's inner circle. I still believe High Noon was the best picture of 1952, but the political climate of the nation and the right-wing campaigns after High Noon had enough effect to relegate it to an also-ran status. Popular as it was, it could not overcome the climate in which it was released. Carl Foreman, who wrote it, had by then taken off for England under a cloud of accusations as a result of his political beliefs. Between the time he turned in the script and the time the Academy voted, we all learned that he had been a member of the Communist Party, but anyone who has seen the picture knows that he put no Communist propaganda into the story. If he had tried to do so, I would have taken it out."

By Scott McGee & Jeff Stafford

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High Noon (1952)

Pop Culture 101 - HIGH NOON

In 1980, Lee Majors reprised the Will Kane role for a made-for-TV sequel called High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane. The sequel picks up where the original left off, with Kane having to strap on his guns again to face down the bounty-hunting marshal who replaced him. And in 2000, the TBS Superstation aired a remake of High Noon, starring Tom Skerritt as Will Kane.

Actor Lee Van Cleef plays Jack Colby, one of Frank Miller's villainous thugs in the original High Noon. Van Cleef played similar parts in a number of Westerns, including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) before becoming a popular anti-hero in Spaghetti Westerns of the sixties. Some of his best films in that genre include For a Few Dollars More (1965), Death Rides a Horse (1968), and Sabata (1970). Van Cleef was also memorable in director John Carpenter's Escape From New York (1981).

Will Kane's final act of throwing away his marshal's badge is referenced in director Don Siegel's 1971 box office smash, Dirty Harry (1971). But instead of a middle-aged cop trying to enlist help from a cowardly township, Clint Eastwood plays a maverick San Francisco cop - "Dirty Harry" Callahan - who is thwarted at every turn by lawyers, politicians and departmental bureaucracy in his pursuit of a despicable serial killer. It is at the end that Callahan throws away his badge in disgust.

The pivotal church scene where Will Kane tries to enlist the help of the congregation was spoofed in director Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974).

By Scott McGee

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High Noon (1952)

HIGH NOON - Trivia and Other Fun Stuff

In an unusual turn of events, Gary Cooper asked John Wayne to accept his Academy Award® - if he should win - for High Noon, since Coop was scheduled to be in Europe at the time of the Oscar ceremony. Wayne gave the following acceptance speech: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm glad to see they're giving this to a man who is not only most deserving, but has conducted himself throughout the years in our business in a manner that we can all be proud of. Coop and I have been friends hunting and fishing for more years than I like to remember. He's one of the nicest fellows I know. I don't know anybody nicer. And our kinship goes further than that friendship because we both fell off horses in pictures together. Now that I'm through being such a good sport about all this sportsmanship, I'm going back and find my business manager and agent, producer, and three-name writers and find out why I didn't get High Noon instead of Cooper..." This speech is rather odd since Wayne passed on the role, as well as helped force Carl Foreman, the film's screenwriter, out of Hollywood for his suspected Communist Party affiliations.

In Monaco, Princess Grace Kelly owned only three prints of her own films: The Country Girl (1954), for which she won an Oscar® for Best Actress, To Catch a Thief (1955), and High Noon.

The number of close ups Zinnemann gave Grace Kelly reportedly infuriated co-star Katy Jurado, prompting her to accuse Zinnemann of being "half in love" with Kelly.

The climax of High Noon begins with a long pullback from Gary Cooper, walking the dusty streets of the desolate town. Fred Zinnemann achieved this by using a long crane that he borrowed from fellow director George Stevens. If you look closely you can see, in the upper frame, the nearby Warner Brothers studio lot. The same Western set on the Columbia Studios lot was used by Zinnemann the next year as a Hawaiian locale in From Here to Eternity (1953).

The theme song to High Noon - "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'" - was originally going to be used throughout the picture. Kramer, in his autobiography, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: A Life in Hollywood, wrote: "I can't begin to calculate how much that song did for the picture, but my admiration for it, at first, led me astray. I became so enamored of the song, I overused it, allowing it to cover some of Cooper's most dramatic moments. When we finally had the picture ready for its first preview, which was to be in Inglewood, the song was everywhere in the movie. By the time we got halfway through the showing, the audience was obviously restless. Before we were three-quarters of the way through, I knew why. At each repetition of the song, they started to laugh and then mockingly follow the lyrics. After the disastrous preview, everyone said I should get rid of "that damned song." That it made a joke of the whole picture. Fortunately I didn't agree. I insisted that the song was great and that I'd simply used it too much. I redid the soundtrack and forsook at least half of the "Do Not Forsake Me's." The result was miraculous."

It's a family thing: Singer Tex Ritter, who sings the theme song to High Noon, is the father of actor John Ritter. Lloyd Bridges, who plays Gary Cooper's bitter rival and deputy, is the father of actors Beau and Jeff Bridges.

Gary Cooper's Oscar® win for a Best Actor performance in a Western is still a rarity. Warner Baxter won in 1929 for In Old Arizona (1929), Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou (1965), and John Wayne for True Grit (1969). The most recent nominations for actors in a Western include Kevin Costner in Dance With Wolves (1990) and Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven (1992).

Famous Quotes from HIGH NOON:

Will Kane: I'm tired of people telling me what to do.

Helen Ramirez: If Kane was my man, I'd never leave him. I'd get a gun and fight.

Judge Percy Mettrick: Have you forgotten what he is, how he promised to come back and kill you? He sat in that chair and said, 'I'll come back, Will Kane. I'll come back and kill you."

Martin Howe: The public doesn't give a damn about integrity. A town that won't defend itself deserves no help. Get out, Will. It's all for nothing."

Amy Kane: I don't care who's right and who's wrong. There's got to be some better way for people to live.

Will Kane: It's no good. I've got to go back, Amy. They're making me run. I've never run before.

Compiled by Scott McGee

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High Noon (1952)

The Big Idea Behind HIGH NOON

Producer Stanley Kramer and writer Carl Foreman had both read John Cunningham's short story "The Tin Star" in Harper's> magazine and decided to option it for a joint film project. The two men decided to call the film High Noon, which had once been the temporary working title for Home of the Brave (1949), a previous film produced by Kramer with a screenplay by Foreman. But it was the latter, not Kramer, who actually negotiated the screen rights to Cunningham's short story. If Kramer had bought the story, the rights would have undoubtedly cost much more than the $25,000 that Foreman paid because Kramer was a well-known Hollywood producer among publishing circles.

Director Fred Zinnemann read the first draft of the script once he was offered the chance to direct. Immediately, he thought it "nothing short of a masterpiece - brilliant, exciting and novel in its approach."

The entire script was designed by Carl Foreman and Stanley Kramer to take place in the exact screening time of the film, less than ninety minutes.

According to author Anthony Holden in his book, Behind the Oscar, Foreman "was summoned to Washington - where he took the Fifth Amendment - during the filming of his script for High Noon. Knowing that he would be blacklisted as soon as the film was finished, Foreman arrived back on the set 'frightened but inspired;' he proceeded to write in a number of scenes mirroring the witch-hunt, and attacking America's (and Hollywood's) reluctance to stand up to HUAC's bullying tactics. 'Much that was in the script seemed comparable to what was happening,' he said. Friends had dropped him; people would turn away when they saw him in the street. 'My associates were afraid for themselves - I don't blame them - and tried to get me off the film, unsuccessfully. They went to Gary Cooper and he refused (to go along with them). Fred Zinnemann was very staunch and very loyal, and so was our backer, Bruce Church. There are scenes in the film that are taken from life. The scene in the church is a distillation of meetings I had with partners, associates and lawyers. And there's the scene with the man who offers to help and comes back with his gun and asks, 'Where are the others?' And Cooper says, 'There are no others.' 'I became the Cooper character,' said Foreman. High Noon's producer, Stanley Kramer, joined Cooper and Zinnemann in approving what Foreman was up to. Once the news leaked around town, however, John Wayne and Hedda Hopper were among the first to launch public attacks on Foreman, Hopper urging that 'he never be hired again.' Fearing for his production company, Kramer publicly dissociated himself from the writer, causing a rift between the two men that would last into the 1980s.'

By Scott McGee & Jeff Stafford

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High Noon (1952)

Stanley Kramer was lucky to have secured the services of director Fred Zinnemann for High Noon. Given the film's tight production schedule and a total budget of $750,000, there was no room for extravagance or experimentation. Zinnemann had to memorize every shot and its exact place in the overall picture. As Zinnemann recounted, "Fortunately, from the old days in MGM's Shorts Department, I was used to 'making' the movie in my own head long before the actual shooting." His ability to plan shots prior to shooting saved a great deal of time and money.

Zinnemann and company shot a large part of High Noon on the Columbia "ranch", the company's backlot in Burbank, which was right next door to the Warner Brothers studio. By shooting in Burbank and the Los Angeles area, Zinnemann used the L.A. trademark smog to his advantage. For one thing, it made the sky look blindingly white which was just how Zinnemann wanted it to appear in contrast to Will Kane's black clothes. In preparation for the film's visual look, Zinnemann and photographer Floyd Crosby also studied the Civil War photographs by Mathew Brady. This grainy, flat light approach ran counter to how most Westerns were shot, particularly the sagebrush sagas of John Ford (My Darling Clementine, 1946) and Howard Hawks (Red River, 1948).

Gary Cooper was not the first choice to play Will Kane. In fact, he was much further down on a list that included Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Charlton Heston, and Gregory Peck, who turned it down because he did not think the film could match his earlier Western, The Gunfighter (1950). It was even reported that John Wayne was offered the role, although he also nixed it.

At the time he was offered the lead in High Noon, Gary Cooper's career was in decline and so was his health. He was plagued with stomach ulcers, lower back troubles, and a recurring hip problem that flared up frequently, impairing his walk. His various ailments made film shooting difficult for him, but he once again proved his professionalism by not allowing his physical hardships to stop him from working long, hard hours. Aside from physical problems, his emotional state was not much better. Separated from his wife, and at the end of a passionate affair with actress Patricia Neal, Cooper looked older than his fifty years. His gaunt and haggard appearance worked to his advantage - he required almost no make up for his role of the beleaguered Will Kane. But one of the reasons Cooper took the part was because it represented what his father, a Montana state Supreme Court justice, had taught him: that law enforcement was everybody's job.

Twenty-two year-old novice actress Grace Kelly made her first significant film appearance in High Noon. She disparaged her own performance, feeling that she was too stiff and wooden as Amy Kane. But director Fred Zinnemann thought her inexperience was appropriate for the role that was rather limited in scope. As Zinnemann said, "(Kelly) at the time wasn't equipped to do very much...She was very wooden...which fitted perfectly, and her lack of experience and sort of gauche behavior was to me very touching - to see this prim Easterner in the wilds of the Burbank Columbia backlot - it worked very well."

Rumors began flying as soon as Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly met on the set of High Noon. The two actors were notorious for enjoying romantic liaisons with their co-stars. In public, Cooper stated his admiration for Kelly's acting when he said, "She was very serious about her work...She was trying to learn, you could see that. You can tell if a person really wants to be an actress. She was one of those people you could get that feeling about."

For her part, Kelly was equally complimentary of Cooper. She said in an interview, "He's the one who taught me to relax during a scene and let the camera do some of the work. On the stage you have to emote not only for the front rows, but for the balcony too, and I'm afraid I overdid it. He taught me the camera is always in front row, and how to take it easy..."

During production on High Noon, the House Un-American Activities Committee was creating quite a stir in Hollywood. Thousands of actors, writers, directors, and others in the film industry lost their jobs due to real or imagined affiliations - past or present - with the Communist Party. Screenwriter Carl Foreman was subpoenaed before HUAC during the making of High Noon to answer questions about his own past affiliations with the Party. As was his right, Foreman pleaded the Fifth Amendment. But after he returned to the set of High Noon, Foreman knew his days in Hollywood were numbered. Hedda Hopper and John Wayne both launched public attacks on him in the trades, trying to force him out of the industry. Even Foreman's most loyal supporters like Fred Zinnemann were threatened because of their association with him. Just like in the film, Gary Cooper seemed to be the last man standing in supporting Carl Foreman. But once threats ensued from MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer and the powerful independent producer Walter Wanger, even Cooper had to relent, fearing an end to his acting career. When the actor called Foreman with the news, the writer sympathized. "I know. Nobody can hold up against this...not even you." The pressures eventually became too much for Foreman and he moved to England immediately following the completion of High Noon. He would later reemerge with the script for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), co-written with fellow blacklisted writer Michael Wilson. However, neither of them received screen credit for the Oscar®-winning screenplay. Ironically, Foreman's widow accepted his Academy Award for The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1985, the year after his death.

High Noon was almost the last movie for Fred Zinnemann and his cameraman Floyd Crosby. To capture the shot of the faraway approaching train, they had to place the camera flat between the rails. As Fred and Floyd were lying on the tracks, the train was signaled to start rolling, which it did with white smoke billowing. As the train came closer, the white smoke turned to black. The filmmakers were quite pleased with how the black smoke looked in the camera, not realizing that it was a sure sign that the train engine's brakes were failing. The train crept closer and closer, until Zinnemann and Crosby realized the train was not going to stop. Floyd carefully picked the camera up off the tracks, but the tripod got caught on the rail just before the train threatened to overtake them. The director and cameraman escaped, but the camera was smashed to pieces. Fortunately, the film magazine survived, and the shot was used in the final cut.

By Scott McGee

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High Noon (1952)

The Critics' Corner on HIGH NOON

"A basic western formula has been combined with good characterization in High Noon, making it more of a Western drama than the usual outdoor action feature," reported Variety. "With the name of Gary Cooper to help it along, and on the basis of the adult-appealing dramatic content, the business outlook is favorable." Eventually, the film DID become a box office hit but only after it had garnered a number of Academy Award® nominations.

"A Western of stark, classical lineaments: Cooper, still mysteriously beautiful in ravaged middle age, plays a small town marshal who lays life and wife on the line to confront a killer set free by liberal abolitionists from the North...Writer Carl Foreman, who fetched up on the HUAC blacklist, leaves it open whether the marshal is making a gesture of sublime, arrogant futility - as his bride (Kelly), a Quaker opposed to violence, believes - or simply doing what a man must. High Noon won a fistful of Oscars but in these days of pasteboard screen machismo, it's worth seeing simply as the anatomy of what it took to make a man before the myth turned sour." - Sheila Johnston, TimeOut Film Guide.

"It's a beautifully composed film - courtesy of Floyd Crosby's picturesque sunlight and shadow compositions - which achieves the difficult task of being about morality while avoiding tart sermonizing and hollow admonitions. A film about what it means to be a man that manages to avoid the musk of machismo, "High Noon" is truly a film that improves with each and every viewing." - David Wood, BBCi.

"Not a frame is wasted in this taut, superbly directed, masterfully acted film, the first so-called "adult Western," in which the traditional and predictable elements of action, song and minimal romance give way to a swift, intense unraveling of a situation and complex character development...A landmark Western in every sense, High Noon was shot by cinematographer Floyd Crosby in high contrast, an approach director Fred Zinnemann used to bring documentary-like authenticity to the film. Zinnemann's outstanding economical direction is in full force here, every minute pertinent and packed with suspense. Significantly, the film takes almost as much time to unreel as Will Kane takes in the story to prepare for the gun battle. For Cooper, this was a tour de force, a film wherein his mere presence overwhelms the viewer and carries a story that is believable only through his actions. He utters no long speeches, yet his expressions and movements are those of a man resolute in his lonely duty and resigned to his own doom." - TV Guide Online (Cinebooks).

"The Western form is used for a sneak civics lesson...Much has been made of the film's structure (it runs from 10:40 a.m. to high noon, coinciding with the running time of the film); of the stark settings and the long shadows; of the screenwriter Carl Foreman's psychological insight and his buildup of suspense. When the film came out, there were actually people who said it was a poem of force comparable to The Iliad. But its insights are primer sociology, and the demonstration of the town's cowardice is Q.E.D. It's a tight piece of work, though - well directed by Fred Zinnemann." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

Perhaps the most outspoken critic of High Noon was John Wayne, the same actor who wondered why he was not offered the part when accepting the Best Actor Oscar® on Gary Cooper's behalf. Wayne said years later of High Noon: "I'll tell you about Carl Foreman and his rotten old High Noon. Everybody says it was a great picture because Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly were in it. It's the most un-American thing I've seen in my whole life! The last thing in the picture is ol' Coop putting the U.S. marshal's badge under his foot and stepping on it. I'll never regret having helped run Foreman out of this country!" (With all due respect to the Duke, his memory of the ending is inaccurate. At the climax of High Noon, Kane does indeed drop the badge in the dust, but he does not step on it.)

Director Howard Hawks did not think too highly of High Noon either. He made Rio Bravo (1959) as a response to the film that he dismissed as unrealistic: no competent marshal should require assistance from the townspeople.

AWARDS & HONORS:

High Noon was a main challenger at the Academy Awards® showdown in 1953, and walked away a winner. Gary Cooper won his second Best Actor Oscar, the first one being for Sergeant York (1941). The film also won for Best Editing (Elmo Williams, Harry Gerstad), Best Score (Dimitri Tiomkin) and Best Song (Dimitri Tiomkin, music; Ned Washington, lyrics). High Noon also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

High Noon won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Film and Best Direction. It also won the Writers Guild of America award for screenwriter Carl Foreman in 1953 as well as four Golden Globe awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (Cooper).

In 1989, High Noon was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.

The city of Reno, Nevada, honored High Noon with their Silver Spurs award for the best Western of the year. Montgomery Clift stood in for Gary Cooper, while the master of ceremonies was some dude named Ronald Reagan.

Compiled by Scott McGee & Jeff Stafford

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High Noon (1952)

Marshall Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is looking forward to his honeymoon with his new bride Amy (Grace Kelly). But as he and his wife prepare to leave town, Kane is informed that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), his former nemesis, is out of jail and on the way to Hadleyville for a showdown with him. Not one to back down from a confrontation, Kane decides to postpone his honeymoon and face the murderous outlaw and his gang. However, as the lone sheriff attempts to enlist some of the townspeople to help him, he quickly discovers that no one is willing to risk their life beside him. As the minutes tick away toward the final showdown, Kane prepares to meet his fate alone.

In his biography, A Life in the Movies, director Fred Zinnemann noted that High Noon "seems to mean different things to different people. (Some speculate that it is an allegory on the Korean War!) [Stanley] Kramer, who had worked closely with [Carl] Foreman on the script, said it was about 'a town that died because no one there had the guts to defend it.' Somehow this seemed to be an incomplete explanation. Foreman saw it as an allegory on his own experience of political pesecution in the McCarthy era. With due respect I felt this to be a narrow point of view. First of all I saw it simply as a great movie yarn, full of enormously interesting people. I vaguely sensed deeper meanings in it; but only later did it dawn on me that this was not a regular Western myth....To me it was the story of a man who must make a decision according to his conscience. His town - symbol of a democracy gone soft - faces a horrendous threat to its people's way of life....It is a story that still happens everywhere, every day....The entire action was designed by Foreman and Kramer to take place in the exact screening time of the film - less than ninety minutes."

High Noon proved to be a huge critical and popular success when released and garnered seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture prior to the 1953 Academy Awards ceremony that year (It won statues for Gary Cooper (Best Actor), Best Film Editing, Best Music Score and Best Song ("Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'"), which was performed in the film by Tex Ritter (It also became a hit for Western balladeer Frankie Laine). Kramer noted in his biography, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: A Life in Hollywood, "that High Noon's defeat in the Oscar race by Cecil B. DeMille's circus picture, The Greatest Show on Earth, had to be largely political, and I'm not referring to the unspoken old-boy politics of Hollywood's inner circle. I still believe High Noon was the best picture of 1952, but the political climate of the nation and the right-wing campaigns after High Noon had enough effect to relegate it to an also-ran status. Popular as it was, it could not overcome the climate in which it was released. Carl Foreman, who wrote it, had by then taken off for England under a cloud of accusations as a result of his political beliefs. Between the time he turned in the script and the time the Academy voted, we all learned that he had been a member of the Communist Party, but anyone who has seen the picture knows that he put no Communist propaganda into the story. If he had tried to do so, I would have taken it out."

Producer: Stanley Kramer, Carl Foreman
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Screenplay: Carl Foreman, based on the story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham
Cinematography: Floyd Crosby
Editing: Elmo Williams
Music: Dimitri Tiomkin
Art Direction: Ben Hayne
Cast: Gary Cooper (Marshal Will Kane), Grace Kelly (Amy Kane), Thomas Mitchell (Jonas Henderson), Lloyd Bridges (Harvey Pell), Katy Jurado (Helen Ramirez), Otto Kruger (Judge Percy Mettrick), Lon Chaney, Jr. (Martin Howe), Harry Morgan (Sam Fuller), Ian MacDonald (Frank Miller), Lee Van Cleef (Jack Colby), Sheb Wooley (Ben Miller).
BW-85m. Closed captioning.

by Scott McGee

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