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Inside 'High Noon' (2003)

Documentary exploring the making of the film, High Noon. Details how it developed, from initial idea to script, casting -- especially in casting the lead role, which so many major Hollywood... See full summary »

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Documentary exploring the making of the film, High Noon. Details how it developed, from initial idea to script, casting -- especially in casting the lead role, which so many major Hollywood actors had turned down before Gary Cooper eagerly took it on -- and production. Goes into detail on its complicated HUAC controversy, with so many both behind and before the camera blacklisted. Covers its critical reception and it's place in American culture.

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10 June 2008 (USA)  »

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High Noon has been screened at the White House more than any other film See more »

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Features High Noon (1952) See more »

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Most Comprehensive Work on High Noon
26 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

A new book by Glenn Frankel, on the film High Noon and its importance to American culture, has just been published (February 2017). It is an excellent book, highly recommend it. After reading it, I returned to this documentary, Inside High Noon. It should be required viewing for anyone interested in film history, American history, American culture.

Inside High Noon delves into how a screenplay becomes a film unlike any documentary I've ever seen. It explores how a tight script like Carl Foreman's for this film locks even a seasoned director and editor (Fred Zinnemann and Elmo Williams) into the word on the page. For example, in the saloon scene, when Will Kane is asking for special deputies, a character says: "You had six special deputies back then. You ain't got but two now." Another character adds: "You ain't got two. Harve Pell says he just quit." Which still leaves one deputy, who is never again mentioned. Nor does Kane mention him.

Reason is that the second deputy and his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. But Carl Foreman's script is so tight that the lines could not be cut out in the editing room. They were kept in, Zinnemann hoping the implications would fly by an audience. He was correct, but John Mulholland showcases it.

So many other areas Inside High Noon explores and opens up for the audience. The rich feminism behind the Katy Jurado and Grace Kelly characters, which undercuts the typical smash-mouth masculinity integral to so many westerns. The documentary also offers a wonderful insight into Gary Cooper's performance which, as Mulholland points out, is actually two separate performances. He is two different people, depending if the character is alone or with others.

Inside High Noon also covers the political fallout, including the blacklisting and how Cooper -- a solid Republican -- put his own career on the line in defending ex-Communist Carl Foreman.

Inside High Noon is a perfect companion to GLenn Frankel's new book on High Noon.


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