High Noon Reviews
And that's the set up for this most modern of Westerns, wherein an entire town, much less the sheriff, wait for the coming doom of one angry outlaw ... and his gang of hoods. Their fear and how they react is really what the film comments on, on how any of us handle fear, and then what we manage to do about it, whatever lofty ideals we might profess to uphold.
The Jesus story goes West (asking where we stand insofar as our beliefs go) packs a six gun and waits out alone on main street, alone to face the worst, to face the Devil, to face the future, whatever it brings ...
I love this movie.
What makes it even more great is the fact that somehow the film manages to keep the tension at a very high boil all the way through up to and including it's suspenseful climactic showdown. Also, it does all this, gets the point across, and has it all wrapped up in just under 90 minutes, but still provides wonderfully written and developed chasracters. Bravo.
Marshal Will Kane is on the verge of retiring from his position as head lawman in the town of Hadleyville. Just minutes after getting married to his Quaker bride Amy, his packing for his honeymoon is interrupted when news gets out that a man he put away back in the past has just been released, and is on his way to Hadleyville to rendezvous with three of his henchmen to get his vengeance on Will.
Faced with some tough decisions about how to deal with all of this and decide which direction his life should take, Will finds himself all alone as everyoen he turns to ends up being cowardly and unwilling to help him out in what could very well be his most dire time of need.
All in all, this is a superb western. It's wonderfully written, unbelievably taut and gripping all the way through, and not onyl does it feature Grace Kelly's first major role, it also is the film debut of a young Lee Van Cleef. Gary Cooper is great in the lead, and there's some nice work from Lloyd Bridges and Lon Chaney Jr. as well.
WIth some good music, excellent, cinematography, and fairly sharp direction, this routine story is brought to life and made fresh and memorable. It's a bummer the subtext has lost some of its impact over time, but I do applaud it for being something risky at a time when being critical of the Red Scare was something to tread lightly around.
Definitely give this one a watch. It's one of the top westerns ever, and just one heck of a memorable ride.
"Simple. Powerful. Unforgettable."
Whenever the best films of the western genre are discussed High Noon is always at the top of the list. It's as influential as any movie in the genre, and it's plot has been used many times since. It's a movie that isn't long and doesn't have much action. It's all build. We watch as a marshall desperately tries to get some support from his fellow townspeople, but as he continues to try we see, it's just not going to happen.
A Marshall must postpone leaving his town with his new wife, when he finds out a gang of killers are going to return. He is alone in his fight though as some of the townspeople are friends of the killer, some are too afraid of the killer, and some are just unwilling to help.
I can see why a lot of people love High Noon. It is a great exhibition of the power of building a story to a final shootout. It's undoubtedly a genre staple and a classic film in general. I just can't help feeling like it isn't as great as I had heard. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I didn't love this film like I though I would. I enjoyed it, I liked it. I just didn't love it.
This is far from perfect in my opinion, but still well worth the watch, especially if you are a fan of the genre. Plus it has Grace Kelly, so it is sort of a must watch.
High Noon was really a revolutionary film for its time, particularly in the way that it depicted the town as being either A) scared or B) indifferent. The judges runs away. The deputy (a great performance by Lloyd Bridges) bargains his help for support in being the new Marshall. The mayor is worried about how a gun fight will affect the towns economy. All in all, this is probably the most realistic western of its era.
The greatest of High Noon lies with Gary Cooper. Will Kane is not John Wayne moseying into a gunfight, ready to raise hell at a moments notice. As the clock ticks away, Cooper puts more and more worry on his face making Kane a more sympathetic character. This is a film that isn't afraid to show the humanity of its hero. You're basically watching a man take the long walk to the executioner, with no one watching his back. Along with Cooper, we also get a great performance from Grace Kelly as Kane's new bride. She's a woman that can't understand why Will Kane feels the need to fight this battle when he doesn't have to.
And that's basically the theme of the film. A man that fights when he doesn't have to do it. When you really look at it, High Noon represents the seeds of the western that Sergio Leone would craft with Clint Eastwood being a hero even when he was a rogue and didn't have to do it. In a way, Clint Eastwood is the heir to Gary Cooper. A chiseled individual that represents what is right, not what the law happens to be.
High Noon is one of those great American westerns that;s head and shoulders over the typical fare of the era, letting a little social commentary slip thru along the way. A true classic film.
On his wedding day, dependable lawman Will Kane (Gary Cooper) has just handed in his badge and is preparing to leave town with his bride Amy (Grace Kelly) when he receives devastating news. An old adversary, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), has been pardoned for crimes that he should have hanged for and is on his way to Kane's town of Hadleyville to get revenge. He is due on the noon train, leaving Kane one hour to either run for his life or make preparations to fight. Kane and Amy set off at full gallop, hoping to put some miles between themselves and danger, but Kane doesn't get far before he feels compelled to turn back. With the new sheriff not due for a day, he just can't let go of the extraordinary sense of duty and responsibility he feels towards his town. However when he gets back to town he gets quite a shock - for no-one has the guts (nor, in some instances, the inclination) to fight alongside him against the Miller gang. As time ticks unstoppably towards noon, Kane gradually realises that if he's going to stop Miller and his boys, he's going to have to do it alone!
Cooper's performance is extremely powerful and he received a thoroughly deserved Oscar for it. Kelly is good as his bride, although many viewers will find her character hard to like. Lloyd Bridges has a brilliant early role as Kane's deputy, while the very best of the supporting pack is Katy Jurado as a Latino woman whose "history" with most of the men in town puts her in an unenviable position when the shooting starts. Fred Zinnemann directs the film outstandingly, making each scene fit into the grander scheme of things with literate precision. Any aspiring young film-maker wanting to learn how to pace a film correctly should watch High Noon with a close eye, for it is unparallelled as the most perfectly paced film of all-time. The music by Dmitri Tomkin - plus that incredible ballad "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling" by Tex Ritter - is just one more element that makes High Noon one of the great masterpieces. There's nothing else to say - if you haven't already, go out and see this film NOW!