Hign Noon

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ken123
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Hign Noon

Post by ken123 »

Ther is a thread on " the other site ' in regard to " High Noon ", of which I have just posted a reply. If anyone here has any comments on this " anti - Western ", please feel free to do so, even if if those comments are about the the AMAZING Mr. Cooper. :wink:
nightwalker
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Post by nightwalker »

Where do I begin?

I am truly ambivalent about this film, not so much due to the film itself but because of its "backstory", i.e., the whole Carl Foreman HUAC thing.

It's interesting to note that one reason John Wayne was interested in making RIO BRAVO seven years later is because he saw it in some ways as a response to some of the issues raised by HIGH NOON.

Having said that, I think the film is filled with wonderful performances.

Coop is often criticized for not really being much of an actor & it's claimed that he really didn't deserve the Oscar he won for his work here (or in SERGEANT YORK, either). But I think his portayal of a man who's done his duty and is ready to retire peacefully, only to have to deal with one more crisis, is dead on. Coop brings a certain weariness to his portrayal of Will Kane, but also a kind of magnificence as a man who will not, who cannot turn his back on his duty.

Among the rest of the cast, I'd also like to note in particular the standout performance of Lon Chaney Jr. as the former sheriff, Martin Howe. In horror fan circles especially, it's common to see criticisms of Chaney's lack of acting ability. Performances such as this one, as well as those of Robert Mitchum's alcoholic father in NOT AS A STRANGER and Big Sam in THE DEFIANT ONES, should have put the lie to this absurd claim years ago.
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Post by movieman1957 »

I've heard arguments from both sides about whether Will Kane was a coward or not because he spends some time running around looking for help. I don't really see it that way as much as it might be a realization of this limitations. I think he gets credit for coming back.

One minor thing that has always bothered me about the picture is in the final shooting by Cooper his gun seems like it goes off too soon. This would appear to make him miss. (A similar thing happens in "Shane" when he shoots the guy upstairs.)

In the commentary with the DVD there is an interesting story about the train during the shot where the camera is set on the tracks. Apparently the engineer realized there were no brakes. To warn the camera crew they blew white smoke (I think) instead of black smoke. The crew had no idea what was going on. Luckily everything turned out ok and no one was hurt.
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vallo
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Post by vallo »

There will always be a comparison with this film and what was going on in America at the time the film was made. The film's screenplay by Carl Foreman , this was his last Hollywood film before blacklist exiled him to London. He also wrote Home of the Brave (1949), Champion (1949), and The Men (1950) Great film shot in 31 days. Cooper looked like he had the world on his sholders, which he did because he was sick at the time. Arguably one of the best films by Fred Zinnemann. On my top 10 list.


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Post by MissGoddess »

All the political aspects ascribed to it have always, blessedly, gone completely unnoticed or over my head ever since I first saw it. It's not my favorite Cooper western, but I fully appreciated that Zinneman provided a framework in which Gary comes off as almost titanic in his fight against all odds (without ever losing his ineffable, everyman quality). That's mythmaking territory and I love to venture there.

Many criticize Grace Kelly's performance as being the weakest thing in the story, but I've never been that bothered by it. I do, however, find a magnificence in Katy Jurado's readiness to stand by her man that, in my opinion, makes her worthier of being Kane's partner in life.

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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

While I like High Noon, and think that Gary Cooper does wonders with his seemingly under-written part, does anyone find the thunderous score annoying? Sure, I like Frankie Laine's bleating anthem, "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh, My Darling" as much as the next guy, but I invariably reach for the volume control at certain points of this movie.

Or have I just spoken heresy against Dimitri Tiomkin? Should I start looking over my shoulder for a lynch mob of Tiomkinites? If I mention that I really love Tiomkin's somehow wistful, soaring, yet bombastic score for The High and the Mighty, could I be let off with a simple tar & feathering and being run out of town on a rail?
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

Dear Moira,
Wasn't it Tex Ritter doing the warbling in " High Noon " ?
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Post by MikeBSG »

It is Tex Ritter singing in the movie, but he (supposedly) disliked the song and never recorded it as a record. Frankie Laine did that.

Supposedly, we have the "scaled-down" "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling," in the movie. While in post-production, Stanley Kramer supposedly fell in love with the song and put it into nearly every scene of the film. After some sneak previews, he scaled back on the song.

I like parts of "High Noon," but as a whole it has never been one of my favorites. Part of this is that the main outlaw, the one the whole movie has been waiting for, turns out to be rather forgettable once he actually gets off the train. also, I would rather Coop go off with Katy Jurado instead of Grace Kelly, as someone said earlier.
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Post by jdb1 »

I never thought of High Noonas an "anti-western." Rather, I think it's a distillation of the theme behind every western: the man alone, forced to make a stand, learning that he can really depend only on himself, and discovering his own inner stregth.

I can't see why anyone would think Will Kane was cowardly -- why would he be expected to face down an entire gang without deputies? Fear is not the same thing as cowardice. As isn't the name "Kane" somewhat symbolic - the man alone in the wilderness, with everyone turned against him?

Stanley Kramer said in his memoirs that he regretted having cast Grace Kelly, and I do think she is a bit too rarefied for the Old West, but while she wasn't great in the part, she wasn't really terrible, either. She represents the entirely different, peaceful and refined world that Kane now wants to inhabit in his retirement. Katy Jurado is very strong, but she is what Kane wants to get away from - the visceral and violent.

I really liked Lloyd Bridges as the truly cowardly deputy. You keep thinking to yourself : How could he do that to Coop?

I thought Cooper was great, and that he did deserve his Oscar. His undercurrent of fear and desperation was evident -- the only performance I've seen that rivals it is Peter Sellers as the British officer in "Dr. Strangelove" who tries to restrain the insane Sterling Hayden at the Air Force base. In both cases, you can just hear the surpressed panic trying to come to the surface. It took courage for Cooper to play a character who was genuinely afraid, where Hollywood custom would dictate a hero with reckless bravery.
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Jeepers, one more reason to hang me from the highest tree! Tex Ritter fans can now start stalking me too. I'm sorry about the misidentification. Gotta stop trying to write posts during my lunch half hour. :oops:
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

While I like Coopers performance in the film, I personally never thought much of the film itself. Black and white was a good choice here as it pretty much reinforces the simplistic treatment of the characters. Themes are heavy handed to the extreme. It's to Cooper's credit that he was able to pull so much out of the role. I much prefer Firecreek (1968) which has similar themes, but better characters and a few more undercurrents.
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Post by knitwit45 »

I have never been a real fan of Grace Kelley's, but I thought she was perfect in this role. She is refined, delicate, sheltered. Her desperately wanting him to flee reflects her outlook on life. If it's ugly or coarse, cross the street or look the other way. I think a sequel would have had Coop running right back to Katy! :lol:
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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Good point about the biblical "Kane" reference, Judith.

I feel that Grace Kelly's interpretation of the character who hails the arrival of civilization, in some ways reminiscent of the short story "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," is almost grating in its refinement. But that reserve is also what ignites and fuels the desire to civilize.

The song, however, has always seemed a mismatch for me because I don't feel the words embrace the screen story as well as they should have. I enjoy Tex Ritter's and Frankie Laine's renditions of the tune, but I feel that it was chosen because it was possibly the best tune available at the time the film was made and sounded like it might be a hit to whomever made the decision for the film. Maybe, ultimately, it is the best choice because it sold more tickets, and it's appeal is enduring. But the drama unfolding deserved darker lyrics.
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