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High Noon

High Noon

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High Noon, On the day he gets married and hangs up his badge, Marshal Will Kane is told that a man he sent to prison years before, Frank Miller, is returning on the noon train to exact his revenge. Having initially decided to leave with his new spouse, Will decides he must go back and face Miller. However, when he seeks the help of the townspeople he has protected for so long, they turn their backs on him. It seems Kane may have to face Miller alone, as well as the rest of Miller’s gang, who are waiting for him at the station

A classic?

No seriously, I was surprised at how much I loved High Noon. It is intelligent. It is tense. It is suspenseful. It is taut. And it is exciting. Exactly what a psychological western should be like. The cinematography is beautiful and the costumes and sets are wonderful. The story is marvellously suspenseful in structure and mood, and is this movie controversial? Yes it is, but that is by no means a bad thing, if anything I admire an ambitious movie and High Noon is that. The writing is nothing less than intelligent and smart, and even better than that are the sterling performances and the rock solid direction. Gary Cooper gives a superb and powerful performance, Grace Kelly is luminous, Lloyd Bridges is brilliant as the deputy, Katy Jurado is suitably fiery and Thomas Mitchell is great in one of his better performances. The film also has the benefit of being richly scored, the music here is a delight to the ears and perfectly placed. Overall, a masterpiece of a film and of its genre.

Not the best Western ever,…but pretty darn close

This is a perfect example of a great movie that can say a lot in well under two hours. Unlike some incredibly overlong and overrated films (such as THE LAST EMPEROR and THE English PATIENT), the people responsible for HIGH NOON managed to create a great work of art in only 85 minutes! Now I am not saying this is the best Western ever made–I can think of a select few that I actually think are a tiny bit better–but only by a hair’s breadth. I do prefer my favorite short Western still is THE OX-BOW INCIDENT and the long but very satisfying BIG COUNTRY is an amazing and under-appreciated film that might also be better. However, what makes all three films so great is that they provide wonderful sociological lessons that are timeless and transcend the genre. The OX-BOW INCIDENT confronts mob mentality, THE BIG COUNTRY addresses what it’s like to be a REAL man (not a cartoon cowboy) and HIGH NOON combines BOTH plots from these other two films. An exceptionally well-written film with great, great acting and insight into human frailty. About the only negative for me was the ever-present theme sung by Tex Ritter. After a while, it did get on my nerves just a bit!!! A great American film–not to be missed.

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