High Noon Reviews
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.
Saw this on 14/6/16
Though cheesy at times, the movie succeeds because of its daring not to fall into a feel good genre. Its memmorable portrayal of a thankless community of people who care about themselves alone is far more interesting than the motivations of its hero. Fred Zinnemann's direction is tense.