High Noon (1952)
Critic Consensus: A classic of the Western genre that broke with many of the traditions at the time, High Noon endures -- in no small part thanks to Gary Cooper's defiant, Oscar-winning performance.
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as Will Kane
as Frank Miller
as Helen Ramirez
as Jack Colby
as James Pierce
as James Pierce
as Ben Miller
as Station Master
as Mrs. Henderson
as Hotel Clerk
as Hotel Clerk
as Mrs. Simpson
as Mrs. Fletcher
as Sam Fuller
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Critic Reviews for High Noon
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.
Audience Reviews for High Noon
The bad guy, who's a really bad guy, the guy sent to prison after luckily getting caught, the guy promising way violent revenge, he's out. And he's coming back. 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.
At first the character's irrational insistence to stay in the city may be a puzzle for the viewer (and an infuriating contrivance), but soon it reveals a fascinating complexity about him in this superbly edited Western that relies on a visceral performance by Cooper (and his bleeding ulcer).
In an era of flamboyant and charismatic westerns, High Noon takes a turn in a somewhat darker direction. The film does a remarkable effort to highlight the suspenseful moments before it dwindles down to the climatic showdown. The music and score also plays well to reflect the pride-filled moments. Finally, the film is epitomized by the Oscar-winning performance by the resilient Gary Cooper. High Noon is a new direction in westerns that changed the face of the genre and film in the years ahead. 4/5
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