High Noon Reviews
A smart and pretty innovative western classic, that's not all about shooting and hustling. There is more of preparation and waiting here, and that adds both pros and cons to the table.
7 out of 10 marshals.
Basically Kane successfully put away a bad guy Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) manyyears ago. A bad guy who terrorized the town of Hadleyville in New Mexico.
However some do gooders 'in the North' in their wisdom have changed his death penalty to life imprisonment and now given him a pardon (ridiculous I know).
Miller is about to return to Hadleyville to settle a few scores perhaps and is due on the noon train.
The film is almost real time as the countdown to noon begins.
The wedding day of Kane is ruined and he is betrayed by reluctant townsfolk unwilling to get involved in the impending battle.
Cooper like Wayne is a reluctant hero figure and he rightly won a Best Actor Academy Award.
Director Fred Zinnemann delivers a suspenseful Western that even critics of the Western genre can enjoy.
The film is also memorable for a theme song that crops up throughout the film in days when such a thing wasn't ususal. The song in question being 'Don't Forsake Me Oh My Darling'.
The credits goes first to Cooper master acting and Z always just to the point movies .
If Im gonna be critic about one thing , just like other Zinnemann movie , A man for all seasons , the duration of the movie was too short , one would pity why a good movie be so concise while the joy possibly could last longer with his fine art assured it .
The real-time aesthetic used and abused by director Fred Zinnemann is a gimmicky-yet-gripping delight. But more importantly, it helps to conjure up and maintain an air of suspense and intrigue it would take a certain John Ford decades to match.
Short, sharp and suspenseful, Zinnemann's film is a western with zing - a respectable genre classic free from the usual all-American yawn factor. Look out for a young Lee Van Cleef giving "the strong, silent type" a whole new meaning.
In spite of this, the film is tense, smart, subversive, philosophical, wonderfully cynical and strikingly shot.
Speaking no audible dialogue in his film debut, Lee Van Cleef makes one hell of an impression. He was cast for the role because he had kind of an evil face. He stands out so much he's almost a distraction.
Katy Jurado's Helen Ramirez is a breath of fresh air. She's the sort of woman who'd be typed as the "villain's woman" in a classic Hollywood Western, who has the look of a femme fatale, who plots, schemes and generally shoots glaring looks, and dies once she redeems herself. Helen is not that sort. Not only does she live to the end, she's a much more three-dimensional character, conflicted in a different way. Her femme fatale look reflects her jaded personality, which comes out of the prejudice she faces as a Mexican in a white town. Her subplot was a pleasant surprise.
Grace Kelly condemned her own performance, but it's not as bad as she thinks. Alfred Hitchcock praised her in the moments where she rushes to save her husband from his one-on-four battle.
The ending is nothing short of powerful.
All in all, worth a second watch.