HIGH NOON (1952)
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