High Noon combines its points about good citizenship with some excellent picturemaking.
Zinnemann carefully and deliberately makes the most of the mood cast by the threat of impending violence.
Some of the results ring false, but the memorable theme song and some equally memorable character acting (by Thomas Mitchell and Lon Chaney Jr. more than Lloyd Bridges and Katy Jurado) help things along.
High Noon won a fistful of Oscars, but in these days of pasteboard screen machismo, it's worth seeing simply as the anatomy of what it took to make a man before the myth turned sour.
More than a half-century later, Foreman was right after all: High Noon is a scorching and sour portrait of American complacence and capacity for collaborationism.
Regarded as '50s melodrama, it's nearly perfect.
Meaningful in its implications, as well as loaded with interest and suspense, High Noon is a western to challenge Stagecoach for the all-time championship.
| Original Score: 5/5
The Western may be one of the few truly American art forms, and High Noon shows exactly how much potential it can embrace.
| Original Score: 4/4