HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  High Noon The Clock Is Ticking
Year: 1952
Director: Fred Zinneman
Stars: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr, Harry Morgan, Ian MacDonald, Eve McVeagh, Morgan Farley, Harry Shannon, Lee Van Cleef, Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley, Jack Elam
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the wedding day of Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper), and he is married to Amy (Grace Kelly), though not in the church of his town, as she is a Quaker and the pastor does not approve. But Kane's friends are happy to gather around for this happy occasion, which also marks his retirement as a lawman so he can settle down. But then the news arrives: Ben Miller (Sheb Wooley) has been released without charge and he is heading back to town on the noon train. This is bad news, since it was Kane who arrested him, and Miller holds a huge grudge against him for cleaning up the place and making it fit for decent folks to live in. But what if those folks are not as decent as they think?

One of the most divisive films, never mind Westerns, ever made, despite its accolades as a classic of the genre, High Noon had a lot of weigh to bear on its shoulders thanks to the political climate it was made in. Director Fred Zinneman saw it as a straightforward morality tale about standing up for what is right, but of course what is right has many interpretations, some of which are themes in the film, yet what was unavoidable was that at the time this was released the United States was labouring under massive paranoia about The Soviet Union as the Cold War was unfolding across the world. Surely what producer Stanley Kramer had made was an attack on the political right?

Kramer was a well-known liberal, and saw to it that those beliefs would influence his work as both producer and director making his path through fifties Hollywood so precarious that it can be surprising he was not hauled up in front of a court “investigating” unamerican activities and had his career curtailed: certainly that happened to High Noon's screenwriter Carl Foreman, who had to emigrate to Britain to continue his work as a writer. But in truth, there was a certain vagueness about precisely who the film was taking aim at, since the main target appeared to be the cowardice of the crowd, the sort of people who take power from sticking together against outsiders.

Not any old outsiders, but outsiders who should really be insiders, since they are far more moral than either the villains who would seek to do damage, and indeed the insiders themselves, smug in their superiority but unwilling to stand up for anyone who is suffering a crisis. When you see how many of the townsfolk Marshal Kane goes to for help, only to be turned down, whether it's because they feel too weak, which is excusable, or because they refuse to stick their neck out when it is in their own interest to do the right thing, then you sense a curious mix of anger and disappointment. This is America, the film says, aren't we supposed to be better than this? John Wayne famously called High Noon the most unamerican thing he had ever seen, and made Rio Bravo to refute it, which has pitted those two classics against one another ever after.

Rio Bravo may be a Western too, and starts at a similar point of plot, but where that has absolute faith in the man or woman in the street to bolster their community, their country, their world, with their morality, High Noon is more cynical. Yes, there are good people here, but as that superb shot of Cooper in the latter stages shows, where Kane is left punishingly alone in the streets while the people he has respected his whole life leaving him to die stay indoors, sometimes taking a stand can be a very lonely place to be. What Kane, and eventually Amy, must do is have the belief in themselves that no matter they are losing some of their humanity in resorting to violence to better the bad guys, they can at least die knowing they had the high ground, though they would prefer not to. As much a shot at smalltown life as Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (where people are naïve) or David Lynch's Blue Velvet (where the good prefer to ignore the evil), and increasingly tense as it played out in real time, High Noon may be unpalatable by its nature, but didn't it make you think? Music by Dimitri Tiomkin, notably the ballad that runs through the soundtrack.

[Eureka have released this on Blu-ray, and here are the wealth of special features:

4K Digital Restoration
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by historian Glenn Frankel, author of High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by western authority Stephen Prince
New video interview with film historian Neil Sinyard, author of Fred Zinnemann: Films of Character and Conscience
A 1969 audio interview with writer Carl Foreman from the National Film Theatre in London
The Making of High Noon [22 mins] a documentary on the making of the film
Inside High Noon [47 mins] and Behind High Noon [10 mins] two video pieces on the making and context of the film
Theatrical Trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 484 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: