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Author Topic: High Noon (1952)  (Read 25648 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #105 on: February 23, 2017, 01:10:09 AM »

I heard an interview with the author on NPR today. I had no idea that it was an allegory for the McCarthy Blacklist:

https://www.amazon.com/High-Noon-Hollywood-Blacklist-American/dp/1620409488/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487724244&sr=1-1


Are you joking?

 You had no idea that this movie was about the blacklist?Huh?? Have you ever read anything about it? Have you ever even read these boards?  Wink

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« Reply #106 on: February 23, 2017, 02:24:52 PM »

I think you'll find that the vast majority of viewers had absolutely no idea about this until now. For me and most others, it was simply a tautly crafted and brilliant edited classic Western.

The point seems to have been that it would have been too dangerous to make it overtly allegorical - hence you don't notice it unless someone tells you (or you read about it). Groggy's suggestion that it just comes down to critics reading too much into it is particularly a propos in this regard (and no I hadn't read through the thread here until skimming it now  Smiley )

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« Reply #107 on: February 23, 2017, 02:32:43 PM »

I am pretty sure Foreman intended this specifically to be about the blacklist


And Kazan was certainly thinking about his decision to name names when he made ON THE WATERFRONT

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« Reply #108 on: February 23, 2017, 03:01:40 PM »

I am pretty sure Foreman intended this specifically to be about the blacklist

Yes he did - that's the point of the book which I'm about to read.

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« Reply #109 on: April 23, 2017, 12:32:46 AM »

here is a review of the Glenn Frankel book "High Noon." The review was written in The Wall Street Journal by Stefan Kanfer:


https://www.wsj.com/articles/gary-cooper-the-red-scare-and-golden-age-hollywood-1492795033?emailToken=JRrydP15Y3WQhtEyZ8wz3Uc5K6IPDPeEXBbLLH2PIEXA8WfeqPisgqwzi564pmejSEA/7t8Jqm44QTnAn21tUIrIx%2B8lzgb5IyIG

In August 2015, the headline for an editorial in this newspaper read: “ Gary Cooper in Europe.” On a train from Amsterdam to Paris, an armed jihadi burst into a passenger car. Three young Americans happened to be aboard. The trio rose up as one, subduing the terrorist before he could fire his weapon. These men, said The Wall Street Journal’s editors, represented “an admirable strain in American culture that doesn’t shrink from individual acts of heroism for the larger good. . . . Heroism used to be celebrated in Hollywood, though it rarely is in these cynical days.”

Some 63 years before, that headliner had been the lodestar of “High Noon,” an austere black-and-white western told in real time. It became a surprise box-office smash, earned four Academy Awards (including one for Cooper for best actor), and a permanent place in the hearts of moviegoers world-wide.

It had not begun that way. In his wide-screen narrative, “High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic,” cultural historian Glenn Frankel follows the outrageous fortunes of the film and its creators. Fred Zinnemann was a Viennese émigré whose ideas of the Old West were derived from German potboilers. He had directed two promising newcomers, Marlon Brando (“The Men”) and Montgomery Clift (“The Search”) but was hardly a household name, even in the households of B-picture producers. The screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was better known to the cognoscenti; his credits included several distinguished features, including “Champion” and “ Cyrano de Bergerac. ” He was also known to another group: fellow members of the Communist Party, an affiliation that was to shape the drama of “High Noon” and blight the career of its writer.

Cooper, the third pillar of this now-classic feature, was 50 when he went before the cameras. He had been a bankable actor for decades, celebrated for his performances not only on screen but in bed. He never took himself seriously in the latter role. After a hot romance with co-star Ingrid Bergman, he recalled: “Ingrid loved me more than any woman in my life loved me. The day after Saratoga Trunk ended, I couldn’t get her on the phone.” But as a performer he was polished and professional, aware that he had been a member of cinema royalty—and that age had eroded his status. As Stanley Kramer, the producer of “High Noon,” put it: “Everybody felt he was old and tired.”

Not quite everybody. “Coop” believed that he was right for the role of Marshal Will Kane. So right, Mr. Frankel tells us, that he agreed to take a salary cut. He also volunteered to play without makeup, accenting the creases in his leather-saddle face. The filmmakers found the offers irresistible. With a supporting cast of reliable character actors, and a 22-year-old ingenue named Grace Kelly, filming began in the fall of 1951.

At the same time, another show got under way. The House Committee on Un-American Activities began to probe for Communist influence in Celluloid City. As a shelf of books have indicated, the congressmen pursued ink and air time as avidly as they hunted “subversives.”

They did discover a handful of self-styled commissars in the film colony. Mr. Frankel quotes Stalinist screenwriter John Howard Lawson instructing neophytes: “As a writer try to get five minutes of the Communist doctrine . . . in every script that you write. If you can, make the message come out of the mouth of Gary Cooper or some other important star who is unaware of what he is saying.”

But the scenarists were not an ovine flock. When in their early 20s, the radicals had indeed bought the Workers’ Paradise myth exported from Moscow and joined the American Communist Party. Then disillusion set in. In 1939, the U.S.S.R. invaded a defenseless Finland. This outrage was followed by the pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Members fell away. Contributions dried up. America’s entry into World War II gave the remaining comrades and fellow travelers a new rationale: Weren’t Russia and the U.S. allies in the fight against fascism?

The 1950s did not provide the answer they sought. By then the Soviet Union had acquired its own nuclear arsenal, Korea had turned into a surrogate battleground between Moscow and Washington, and the Cold War had gone glacial. A fear of Red infiltration, unseen since the America of the 1920s, resumed. The federal government required employees to sign a loyalty oath; the private sector followed.

Summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, scores of writers, directors, actors and executives made full confessions. When these were deemed insufficient to rescue their livelihoods, they furnished the identities of their fellow radicals. Others, however, declined to name names. They were finished in Hollywood. One of the refuseniks was Carl Foreman.

He had not supplied Gary Cooper, a political conservative, with any pink-stained speeches. He had long since torn up his Party card. That hardly mattered; colleagues drifted away, fearful of guilt by association. There were no new job offers; an industry-wide blacklist had gone into effect. In 1952, a powerful Hollywood labor leader, Mr. Frankel writes, “put out the word that anyone who worked on a movie with Carl would find himself blacklisted.” As the probes wore on, the screenwriter began to see himself as a latter-day Will Kane, the imperiled lawman whose former buddies have given him their backs. After “High Noon” wrapped, Foreman left town just like the sheriff, seeking employment elsewhere.

He found it in the friendlier precincts of Britain. But if Foreman was finished with the blacklist, the blacklist wasn’t finished with him. To sell scripts he used pseudonyms for the next six years. In 1956, along with Michael Wilson, another blacklistee, he wrote “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” The Oscar for best screenplay adaptation went to French novelist Pierre Boulle, who didn’t write or speak English.

Even this failed to satisfy the old-line Communists who attacked Foreman for ideological impurity—after all, his typewriter never stopped, so there must have been something tainted about his success. “Some perhaps were jealous of the fact,” observes Mr. Frankel, that the writer “lived well in London, and that he always seemed to come out ahead financially.” The words “skill” and “proficiency” had no place in the progressives’ lexicon.

Carl Foreman, who died in 1984, had in fact paid a steep price for his walk on the left side. Gary Cooper was back on top; Fred Zinnemann went on to become a world-class director (“The Nun’s Story,” “A Man for All Seasons”). Though Foreman was eventually rehabilitated, he had lost who knows how many film projects, a Hollywood career and a marriage. In the end there was only one true workman’s compensation: Like the character he created, “I discovered that I could be scared and still come through a situation. I actually was the kind of person I thought I was.” The movie “High Noon,” great in itself, is all the greater for the backstory Mr. Frankel tells.

---
Mr. Kanfer is the author of “A Journal of the Plague Years: A Devastating Chronicle of the Era of the Blacklist.” His novel “Hell Money” will be published in the fall.

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« Reply #110 on: April 23, 2017, 03:30:04 AM »

interesting thanks Afro

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« Reply #111 on: May 03, 2017, 05:45:43 AM »

Masterpiece!!!

This is just a dirty little village in the middle of nowhere. Nothing that happens here is really important.

Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is a retiring lawman all set to leave the town of Hadleyville with his new bride Amy (Grace Kelly). But word comes that a notorious gunslinger he put in prison has been released and is heading to town with his gang intent on bloody revenge. With a sense of fearless duty Kane decides to stay and sets about enlisting a posse, however, he finds that nobody in the town that he made safe for everyone will aid him in his mission.

The 1950s saw a big shift in styles for the American Western. After the yee-haw Cowboy Vs Indians excess of the 40s, the decade was ushered in by such film's as Broken Arrow. Showing the Indians in a sympathetic light, Broken Arrow also showed that clearly Westerns had much more to offer than frothy shoot them up entertainment. Which brings us to High Noon, a black and white Oater that landed in 1952 and is still today revered as a quintessential classic Western. Which is not bad considering there's no gun-play here until the last five minutes of its 85 minute running time.

What makes High Noon so significant is that it's not a big movie in terms of production. There's no reams of extras dashing around in glorious Technicolor, no sprawling vistas inhabited by colourful characters, this is pretty understated stuff. Yet thematically it's as big as it gets, a lesson in character drama where not a frame is wasted. From it's unforgettable opening of three bad men (Lee Van Cleef, Robert Wilkie, Sheb Wooley) waiting at the station while Tex Ritter's ballad explains the plot, to the now legendary and iconic ending, High Noon simmers with suspense and intensity as the story unravels. All told in real time too.

Based on a short story called The Tin Star written by John W. Cunningham, High Noon is directed metronomically by Fred Zinnermann and is shot in high contrast by cinematographer Floyd Crosby. Thus the film has a documentary feel to it, giving it an authentic edge so rarely seen in the Western genre. The piece is further boosted by the performance of Cooper. Winning the Oscar for best male performance, Cooper was 50 years old and into his third decade as a movie star. His prancing around in Western days reducing by the month, yet High Noon shows it to be one of the finest casting decisions made in the 50s. In agony from a back injury and other ailments during the shoot, Cooper carries the movie with brilliant sincerity, conveying the pain of a man now alone as he trundles towards doom. The realisation is that all his heroism and graft that made Hadleyville a safe place for women and children to live, now counts for nothing, it's a heavy weight on Kane's shoulders. It's here where Cooper excels, there's no histrionics or drawn out speeches, it's thru expressions and body movements that the story gains its emotional momentum. A remarkable turn from a remarkable actor, proof positive that you didn't need a dashing leading man to propel your movie.

The film notoriously angered Howard Hawks & John Wayne, its themes and its perceived allegory for blacklisting a bone of contention that led to them making Rio Bravo as a riposte in 1959. There's many an essay on High Noon and its links to Senator Joe McCarthy, HUAC etc etc, so really I have no interest in going there. Instead I think it's just fitting to say that Zinnermann himself always resisted talking in terms of allegorical interpretations for his film. He, rightly so, felt to do that would be unfair and dampen the huge significance of his wonderful movie.

Amen to that. 10/10

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« Reply #112 on: May 07, 2017, 08:13:34 AM »

Just read the original story, The Tin Star. It bears little resemblance to the movie: no women (the only one named is the late wife of the marshall). No rounds around the town to find volunteers. The mayor tells the marshall to leave town, a deputy resigns but one remains and supports, though unwillingly, the marshall but, once wounded, the marshall sacrifices himself to save him. One of the four bandits is the main bandit's little brother, one of the four vanishes from the shooting without explanation. A tight and thrilling story. Excellent.

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« Reply #113 on: May 07, 2017, 08:31:27 AM »

Cooper was 50 years old and into his third decade as a movie star. His prancing around in Western days reducing by the month

50.  I knew Cooper was way too old for Grace Kelly.  We saw this in film class at college in 1974, felt that right away.

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« Reply #114 on: May 07, 2017, 10:08:41 AM »

Just read the original story, The Tin Star. It bears little resemblance to the movie: no women (the only one named is the late wife of the marshall). No rounds around the town to find volunteers. The mayor tells the marshall to leave town, a deputy resigns but one remains and supports, though unwillingly, the marshall but, once wounded, the marshall sacrifices himself to save him. One of the four bandits is the main bandit's little brother, one of the four vanishes from the shooting without explanation. A tight and thrilling story. Excellent.
Only one "L" (as in asshole).

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« Reply #115 on: May 07, 2017, 10:11:29 AM »

50.  I knew Cooper was way too old for Grace Kelly.
The hell you say. So there was no way, in real life, the two actors could have had an affair?

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« Reply #116 on: May 07, 2017, 10:34:27 AM »

Just read the original story, The Tin Star. It bears little resemblance to the movie . . .
And the reason for that is (from Wikipedia (with citations)):
Quote
According to Darkness at High Noon: The Carl Foreman Documents—a 2002 documentary based in part on a lengthy 1952 letter from Foreman to film critic Bosley Crowther—Foreman's role in the creation and production of High Noon has been unfairly downplayed over the years in favor of Kramer's. Foreman told Crowther that the film originated from a four-page plot outline he wrote that turned out to be very similar to a short story by John W. Cunningham called "The Tin Star". Foreman purchased the film rights to Cunningham's story and wrote the screenplay.
. . .

Richard Fleischer later claimed he helped Carl Foreman develop the story of High Noon over eight weeks while driving to and from the set of The Clay Pigeon (1949) which they were making together. Fleischer says his RKO contract prevented him from directing High Noon.

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« Reply #117 on: May 07, 2017, 11:13:06 AM »

And the reason for that is (from Wikipedia (with citations)):

So Foreman would make one believe that he wrote the "plot outline" before reading the Cunningham's story? Don't believe it for a minute.

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« Reply #118 on: May 07, 2017, 06:26:37 PM »

The hell you say. So there was no way, in real life, the two actors could have had an affair?

A Quaker gal likely would've been married before reaching 22 years old.  And didn't SHE have parents?

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« Reply #119 on: May 07, 2017, 06:59:53 PM »

Your comment was "Cooper was way too old for Grace Kelly." Whether or not the character Grace was playing would have been married by age 22 is entirely beside the point. And anyway, are you saying she should have been playing younger? If she had been 17 that would have been better?

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