When a dangerous criminal is released from prison, the town marshal that sent him there must face him one last time in High Noon.
Will Kane (Gary Cooper), the marshal of Hadleyville, marries Amy (Grace Kelly) and plans to give up his badge and live a peaceful life as a shopkeeper. As the newlywed couple is preparing to leave, word spreads that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal that Kane put behind bards, is arriving on the very train the couple would be leaving on. The Kanes rush off on horseback to get out of town but Will decides to turn around and stop running. As he tries to roundup townsfolk to help him, he is met with no assistance and the clock is still ticking for Miller’s arrival.
High Noon was quite a surprise for me since I had never seen it before and was not even very familiar with the film. The timing of the film actually elapses in almost real time and we are constantly reminded the clock is always ticking away for the inevitable showdown between Kane and Miller’s gang at noon. Apparently the film is allegorical for the House Un-American Activities Committee that was trying to fish out communists during the Korean War with no one standing up to help the film’s producers. Unfortunately, we found that connection out after watching High Noon but it made the story a little more poignant.
I’m also a bit ashamed to say that I’m not sure if I’ve seen a Gary Cooper film before. The part of Kane in High Noon could have very well have gone to John Wayne but I’m glad that Cooper was the star, he was quite fitting for the role. He was tough, but his reluctance to fight (and likely die) was believable. It was really a great performance. Another great performance is the gorgeous Grace Kelly. Lloyd Bridges also has a part as a deputy, but it’s hard for me to think of him as anyone but Izzy Mandelbaum from Seinfeld.
I always appreciate seeing films like High Noon, especially if they are new to me. While I don’t often get in the mood to watch a Western, there is a short list of Westerns that I could watch just about anytime. I think High Noon has secured a place on that list.
I give it 4 High Noon theme songs out of 5.