Thursday, July 28, 2011

High Noon (1952)

The movie starts with Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) marrying, apparently, his granddaughter (Grace Kelly). While in the literal process of hanging up his tin star, he learns that his old nemesis' homies are back in town, waiting for the Noon train. Could this mean trouble?

Apparently so. Seems that said nemesis was released from prison. Might he be on the aforementioned train? Hmmmm? Of course he is. Maybe he has it out for the man who put him behind bars? Hmmmm? Of course he does.

Marshal Kane's close friends try to convince him to turn chicken and run, but that doesn't sit well with 'oll Coop. So instead he tries to get a posse together to stand bad Frank Miller down. This is where it gets tricky.

It seems that not everyone is all that willing to get involved. Young Lloyd Bridges wants a hand-out, the previous sheriff (Creighton Chaney) is chicken, and some townsfolk side with Frankie. What's going on? Maybe this isn't a simple morality tale. Maybe there's some complexity to Marshal Kane. Maybe he isn't the hero he (and his delicious wife) think!

Nope, it's a straight up morality tale. Kane = Good, Miller = Evil, and the townsfolk who don't stand behind our hero are all yeller. What we have here is an allegory for McCarthyism, and not everyone in Hollywood was willing to stand firm.

51 year old Cooper was a fading star when he took the role. Not only did this revitalize his career (bleeding ulcer and all), it's rumored he bagged 22 year old Grace in the process. Not too shabby for the old mule.

Well made movie, almost done in real time. Clocks feature prominently showing how close we are to High Noon. Well acted and directed. It's considered the greatest slight in Oscar history when it lost best picture to some DeMille circus movie. It's my favorite movie of '52. So far. ARMU 3.5.

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