Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: Fred Zinneman
Screenwriters: Carl Foreman from John Cunningham's story; The Tin Star
Length: 84 min, B & W
Theme Song: Do Not Forsake Me, Tex Ritter
Released: 1952

 

High Noon posterWhen the New York Times reviewed High Noon on July 25, 1952 they wrote that "High Noon is a western to challenge Stagecoach for the all-time championship. " And although westerns on a par were released since 1952, High Noon remains a classic. The film is remarkable if, for no other reason, it takes 84 minutes to tell a story of 90 minutes in a town. And each minute is riveting. There is no fluff here. No lulls. Rather, there exists a constant building of tension and suspense. One by one, the townspeople abandon the newly married, freshly retired sheriff, Will Kane (Gary Cooper) as he prepares for the return of vengeful killer Frank Miller. The old sheriff explains to Kane; "people gotta talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it... Maybe because down deep they don't care, they just don't care." So, as in many town-taming westerns, it boils down to one or two courageous townspeople who are willing to sacrifice all in effort to bring law and order to the town . Kane has as much or more to lose as any of the townies who turn tuck-tale. As the movie begins, he is departing town on his honeymoon, having just married the stunning Amy (Grace Kelly). His conscience mandates that he return to stand up to Miller and his gang.

Throughout the movie Dimitri Tiomkin's score, sung by Tex Ritter loops in many versions. Some viewers may find this a bit monotonous and unrelenting. But just as the train carrying Frank Miller back to town keeps rolling, and the clock keeps ticking, the song "Do Not Forsake Me" loops toward the final turn: The great showdown. One man against overwhelming forces of evil. Courage and cowardice take human shape in this most believable of westerns. An undisputed classic.

Cast:

  • Gary Cooper --- Marshal Will Kane
  • Thomas Mitchell --- Jonas Henderson
  • Lloyd Bridges --- Harvey Pell
  • Katy Jurado --- Helen Ramirez
  • Grace Kelly --- Amy Kane
  • Otto Kruger ---- Judge Percy Mettrick
  • Lon Chaney Jr. --- Martin Howe
  • Harry Morgan --- Sam Fuller
  • Ian MacDonald --- Frank Miller
  • Eve McVeagh --- Mildred Fuller
  • Morgan Farley --- Dr. Mahin, Preacher
  • Harry Shannon --- Cooper
  • Lee Van Cleef --- Jack Colby
  • Robert J. Wilke --- James Pierce
  • Sheb Wooley --- Ben Miller
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