- High Noon
name = High Noon
image_size = 215px
caption = film poster
John W. Cunningham"(story)" Carl Foreman"(screenplay)"
Lloyd Bridges Katy Jurado Grace Kelly
Floyd Crosby, ASC
Elmo Williams Harry W. Gerstad
runtime = 85 mins.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $750,000 USD "(est.)"" [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044706/business High Noon - Box office / business] ." "
IMDb". 15 Mar 2007.]
imdb_id = 0044706
"High Noon" is a 1952
western filmdirected by Fred Zinnemannand starring Gary Cooperand Grace Kelly. The film tells the story of a town marshalwho is forced to face a gang of killers by himself. The screenplay was written by John W. Cunninghamand Carl Foreman, based on Cunningham's pulp short story, "The Tin Star".
In 1989, "High Noon" was selected for preservation in the United States
National Film Registryby the Library of Congressas being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", entering the registry during the latter's first year of existence. The film is #27 on the American Film Institute's 2007 list of great films.
Will Kane (
Gary Cooper), the longtime Marshalof Hadleyville, New Mexico, has just married pacifist QuakerAmy ( Grace Kelly), turned in his badge, and is preparing to move away to become a storekeeper. Soon after, the town learns that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal Kane brought to justice, is due to arrive on the noon train. Miller had been sentenced to the gallows, but was pardoned due to a technicality. In court, he had vowed to get revenge on Kane and anyone who got in his way. His three gang members wait for him at the station. The worried townspeople encourage Kane to leave, hoping to defuse the situation.
Kane and his wife leave, but Kane has a crisis of conscience and turns back. He reclaims his badge and tries to swear in help, but it becomes clear that no one is willing to get involved. His deputy, Harvey Pell (
Lloyd Bridges), resigns. Only his former lover, Helen Ramírez ( Katy Jurado), supports him, but there is little she can do to help. Disgusted, she sells her business and prepares to leave town. His wife threatens to leave on the noon train with or without him, but he stubbornly refuses to give in.
In the end, Kane faces the four gunmen alone. He guns down two of Miller's men, though he himself is wounded. Helen Ramirez and Amy both board the train, but Amy gets off when she hears the sound of gunfire. Amy chooses her husband's life over her religious beliefs and kills the third gunman by shooting him in the back. Miller then takes her hostage and offers to trade her for Kane. Kane agrees, coming out into the open. Amy, however, claws Miller's face, causing him to release her. Kane then shoots and kills him. Then, as the cowardly townspeople emerge, Kane contemptuously throws his marshal's star in the dirt and leaves town with his wife.
Gary Cooperas Marshal Will Kane
Grace Kellyas Amy (Fowler) Kane
Katy Juradoas Helen Ramirez
Lloyd Bridgesas Deputy Sheriff Harvey Pell
* Ian MacDonald as Frank Miller
* Thomas Mitchell as Mayor Jonas Henderson
Otto Krugeras Judge Percy Mettrick
Lon Chaney Jr.as Martin Howe (as Lon Chaney)
Harry Morganas Sam Fuller (as Henry Morgan)
Eve McVeaghas Mildred Fuller
Morgan Farleyas Dr. Mahin, Minister
Harry Shannonas Cooper
Lee Van Cleefas Jack Colby
Robert J. Wilkeas Pierce (as Robert Wilke)
Sheb Wooleyas Ben Miller
Jack Elamas Charlie the Drunkard (uncredited)
There was some controversy over the casting of Cooper in the lead role: at 50, nearly 30 years older than co-star Kelly, he was considered too old for the role.fact|date=February 2008
Zinnemann was highly influenced by the books of
Karl May, which he had read as a child.
Some scenes were filmed on various locations in California:
*the town scenes were filmed in present-day
Columbia State Historic Park;
*the church is Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Tuolumne City;
*the train station is in Jamestown.
According to the 2002 documentary "", written, produced, and directed by
Lionel Chetwynd, Foreman's role in the creation and production of "High Noon" has over the years been unfairly downplayed in favor of Foreman's former partner and producer, Stanley Kramer. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900E6DC163FF93BA25757C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all "High Noon", High Dudgeon] , an April 2002 article from " The New York Times".] The documentary was prompted by and based in part on a single-spaced 11-page letter that Foreman wrote to film critic Bosley Crowtherin April 1952. In the letter, Foreman asserts that the film began as a four-page plot outline about "aggression in a western background" and "telling a motion picture story in the exact time required for the events of the story itself" (a device used in "High Noon"). An associate of Foreman pointed out similarities between Foreman's outline and the short story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham, which led Foreman to purchase the rights to Cunningham's story and proceed with the original outline. By the time the documentary aired, most of those immediately involved were dead, including Kramer, Foreman, Fred Zinnemann, and Gary Cooper. Kramer's widow refutes Foreman's contentions; Victor Navasky, author of " Naming Names" and familiar with some of the circumstances surrounding "High Noon" because of interviews with Kramer's widow among others, said the documentary seemed "one-sided, and the problem is it makes a villain out of Stanley Kramer, when it was more complicated than that.".
Upon its release, the film was criticized by many filmgoers, as it did not contain such expected western archetypes as chases, violence, action, and picture postcard scenery. Rather, it presented emotional and moralistic dialogue throughout most of the film. Only in the last few minutes were there action scenes. ["The Making of High Noon", hosted by
Leonard Maltin, 1992. Available on the Region 1 DVD from Artisan Entertainment.] John Waynestrongly disliked the film because he felt it was an allegory for blacklisting, which he and his best friend Ward Bondhad actively supported. In his Playboyinterview from May 1971, Wayne stated he considered "High Noon" "the most un-Americanthing I’ve ever seen in my whole life" and went on to say he would never regret having helped blacklist liberal screenwriter Carl Foremanfrom Hollywood. He later teamed up with director Howard Hawksto make "Rio Bravo" as a conservative response. Ironically, Cooper himself had been a "friendly witness" to the HUAC several years earlier, and Wayne also accepted Cooper's Academy Award for the role as Cooper was unable to attend the presentation.
The movie won
Academy Awardsfor Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Cooper), Best Film Editing ( Elmo Williamsand Harry W. Gerstad), [Elmo Williams has said that Gerstad's editing was nominal, and he apparently protested Gerstad's inclusion on the Academy Award at the time. See Williams, Elmo (2006), "Elmo Williams: A Hollywood Memoir" (McFarland), p. 86. ISBN 0786426217.] Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture ( Dimitri Tiomkin), and Best Music, Song (Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washingtonfor "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'", sung by Tex Ritter). It was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing, Screenplay. Its loss in the Best Picture category to " The Greatest Show on Earth" is usually seen as one of the biggest upsets (and one of the worst choices) in the history of the Academy Awards. This loss is often cited as due to bias against westerns on the part of the Academy. Ironically, despite severely disliking the film, it was John Wayne who picked up Gary Cooper's Academy Award.
Mexican actress Katy Jurado won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Helen Ramirez, becoming the first Mexican actress ever to receive the award.
American Film Institute recognition
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies#33
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills#20
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
Will Kane, hero #5
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs:
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" #25
AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores#10
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers#27
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)#27
AFI's 10 Top 10#2 Westernfilm
"High Noon", often describedwho as an "existential Western", is generally praised, although it was somewhat controversial upon its release in
1952. Cooper's character is betrayed by all the "good" men in town who won't take up arms for a just cause. Carl Foremanstated the film was intended as an allegoryof the contemporary failure of intellectuals to combat the rise of McCarthyism, as well as how people in Hollywood had remained silent while their peers were blacklisted.Fact|date=November 2007 The film has also been embraced by thosewho who admire its emphasis on duty and courage.
"High Noon" transpires virtually in real-time, in contrast to traditional westerns such as "The Searchers". In another departure from the norm, there is little action until the final 10 minutes. The only exception is a fistfight between Kane and his former deputy, Harvey Pell. The film's tension derives mainly from Kane’s desperation, aided by skillful editing and strong character portrayal. The frequent shots of various clocks with the hands approaching noon and still shots of those involved, heighten the tension.
Another effective technique is the
crane shot, just before the final gunfight. The shot backs up and rises, and we see Will totally alone and isolated on the street. The entire town has deserted him.
The director intendedfact|date=February 2008 to capture the atmosphere of old Civil War photographs, with an austere gray sky as a backdrop. (This effect results from the fact that early film emulsions were most sensitive to blue and ultraviolet light; Zinneman's attempts to reproduce this effect in the film were one of the reasons he strongly opposed its proposed colorization). Despite the constraints of a limited budget ($750,000) and only 32 days to film, he was able to obtain this.
Lech Wałęsa, "High Noon" was an inspiration for the election poster of the Solidaritymovement in Poland. Wałęsa wrote: [Lech Walesa. " [http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005204 In Solidarity] ." " The Wall Street Journal. 11 June 2004. Accessed 15 March 2007.]
According to an English professor at
Yeshiva UniversityManfred Weidhorn. " [http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/47/highnoon.htm High Noon] ." "Bright Lights Film Journal". February 2005. Accessed 12 February 2008.] , "High Noon" is the film most requested for viewing by U.S. presidents and is cited as being Bill Clinton's favorite film. [cite book | last =Clinton | first =Bill | title =My Life | publisher = Knopf |date=June 22, 2004 | location = | pages =21 | url = ]
Remakes and sequel
*A made-for-TV sequel, "High Noon Part II: The Return Of Will Kane" (produced in
1980, 28 years after the original movie was released), featured Lee Majorsin the Cooper role.
*The 1980 science fiction film "Outland" borrowed from the story of "High Noon" for its plot. The movie starred
Miami Viceepisode "The Afternoon Plane" borrowed both plot and characters directly from the movie.
2000, "High Noon" was entirely re-worked for cable television with Tom Skerrittin the lead role.
* [http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/film.htm Dimitri Tiomkin's High Noon]
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/film.php?filmid=1200 Literature on High Noon]
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