Skip to main content

By using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

HIGH NOON (1952)

Critics likened this tightly wound Western to a civics lesson. The tale of a U.S. marshal (Gary Cooper) who faces a quartet of gunmen on his own—when the town’s citizens refuse to help him—is filled with political resonance. Writer Carl Foreman, who was blacklisted during filming, later claimed to have based some scenes on his own experiences as friends deserted him. Yet the genius of this film, as directed by Fred Zinnemann, is that it can be interpreted as an attack on just about any enemy ideology that inspires heroic opposition and cowardly acquiescence. High Noon works audiences into a frenzy, the 85-minute plot unspooling in real time. It was the big film of its year, grossing $12 million on a budget of $730,000. At the Oscars it won Best Actor for Cooper, along with Editing, Score, and Song for “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’).” Losing Best Picture, producer Stanley Kramer blamed the influence of staunch anti-Communist industry members like John Wayne and Hedda Hopper. (d. Fred Zinnemann, 85m, Digital)