Monthly Archives: November 2011

High Noon (1952)

Goal Progress: 91/485 (18.67%)

So I’ll be honest. I’m not a huge Western fan. To me, they all seem like the same movie. Literally, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all in my opinion. Bad guy comes into town. All the townspeople hide away inside, leaving the dirt streets deserted. The lone lawmaker in the sleepy little town has to meet the bad guy in the town square. There’s a shootout. The good guy wins and gets the girl. The end.

High Noon isn’t that different. In fact, it’s not different at all. That’s the story. It’s been said that High Noon is a Western for non-Western-lovers. Now, while I obviously can’t speak for everyone, I can say that the film just didn’t do it for me. There were a few things that I liked about the film, but it really wasn’t enough to make it a fully enjoyable experience for me.

So. The things that I liked:

1. That the movie is almost done in real time. The time elapsed in the story is a little more than an hour and a half, while the film’s runtime is about 80 or so minutes. I also liked the filmmaker’s use of clocks to count down the time until theĀ  train arrived with the bad guy at, you guessed it, “high noon.”

2. The film is actually supposed to represent Hollywood in the age of McCarthy during the Red Scare. All the townsfolk refuse to stand up for themselves and hide and conform to what the bad guy wants so that they can survive. Even folks who dislike the bad guy shrink back when pressured, to the point where there’s only one man in the entire town who will stand up to the villian. Legend has it that it’s this very reason that High Noon lost the Best Picture race that year and the Academy voted the award to Cecile. B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth, one of the biggest upsets in Academy history.

So while I didn’t really care for it, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to try to see it at some point. It’s currently ranked #147 in the IMDB user-voted “Top 250” and in 2007, the AFI ranked it as the 27th Greatest Film of All Time and the 2nd greatest Western. It hasn’t been put there for no reason. I’ll just be damned if I know what that reason is.

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