A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.
On the day he gets married and hangs up his badge, Marshal 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
Gregory Peck, an activist liberal Democrat who strongly opposed blacklisting, later said that turning down this film was the biggest regret of his career, although he modestly added that he didn't think he could have played the lead character as well as Gary Cooper did. See more »
In the climactic crane shot when Kane is alone in the town square, modern-day buildings are clearly visible in the skyline as well as telephone poles. See more »
[to Deputy Harvey Pell]
I knew you had guts but I never figured you for brains. It takes a pretty smart man to know when to back away.
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High Noon is one of the most loved films of all times thanks to the elements that came together to make it the classic that it is. The movie owes a lot to Fred Zinnemann for his tight account of this story by Carl Foreman. The film benefits from Dimitri Tiomkin's great score and the great cinematography by Floyd Crosby.
This is a film that packs a lot of symbolism because of the times when it was done. Those were the days of the communist hysteria where many people in the industry were accused, tried and lost jobs because when they faced the HUAC and Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Gary Cooper plays a man who is decent enough to return to the town where he just has gotten married and has finished his tour of duty. His conscience doesn't let him leave his post as he delays his plans and goes back to defend the town from the bandit who's been freed by Northern judges, and is coming back to seek revenge from Marshal Kane and the town.
Gary Cooper embodied the all Amercian hero. He was an actor who could do no wrong, as he proves in his take of Marshal Kane. We see him as the clock is ticking away toward noon time when the train will arrive in Hadleyville. We see him perspire as he goes around trying to get people help him deal with the problem, to no avail; he will have to do it himself. In the process, he clearly disappoints his new bride, who is horrified at the prospect of losing the man she clearly loves.
Grace Kelly was such an elegant figure that it's hard to imagine she would be in Hadleyville at all! Katy Jurado was also excellent as the jaded Helen Ramirez, the woman who owned a lot of businesses in town. Also effective, Thomas Mitchell, as the mayor of the town and Lloyd Bridges, as Harvey.
This is a film to treasure.
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