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
This is the definitive Western. There are other excellent Westerns of course ("The Unforgiven," "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "The Searchers," "My Darling Clementine," and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" come immediately to mind), but none tops this one. Even though the difference in age between Gary Cooper and Grace Kelley makes the thought of their marriage seem a little kinky, it's easy to buy into the story. Katy Jurado is sexy, Lloyd Bridges is callow, and the townspeople mean well, but when push comes to shove, they reveal their cowardice. (If you remember the scene in "Blazing Saddles" in which Van Johnson says, "Howard Johnson is right," you'll almost certainly laugh at an inappropriate moment in "High Noon." ) "High Noon" is a textbook example of the storyteller's art. The drama begins with the opening credits and doesn't let up until everyone's true character has been laid bare. This one is suspenseful and thrilling, and I find more to admire with every viewing.
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