On the day he gets married and hangs up his badge, lawman Will Kane is told that a man he sent to prison years before, Frank Miller, is returning on the noon train to exact his revenge. Having initially decided to leave with his new spouse, Will decides he must go back and face Miller. However, when he seeks the help of the townspeople he has protected for so long, they turn their backs on him. It seems Kane may have to face Miller alone, as well as the rest of Miller's gang, who are waiting for him at the station... Written by
High Noon is for me one of the two finest Westerns ever made (the other is Shane). It is an elemental commentary on the best and worst of America, the best and worst of mankind. It is Greek tragedy and Shakespeare brought to the Old West in a grandly simple form. Gary Cooper is superb and the supporting cast is outstanding as well (although I wish Grace Kelley would have spoken without the artificial sounding school-girl accent, something which marred so many of her otherwise fine performances). I do not read into the film a commentary on events of the 1950s, specifically the ongoing investigations by Congress of left-wing activities. High Noon transcends such specifics as this. I know John Wayne called the film un-American but I must disagree. I have great respect for the Duke but think he got this one wrong. Weak, timid people are everywhere and the strong are often few and far between. Goodness and right often prevail because a small minority insure that they do. All benefit from the courage of the lonely hero whether they realize it or not. Hign Noon is a testimony to this truth.
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