High Noon (1952) – Review

Gary Cooper stars as Marshal Will Kane, a town Marshal that despite some disagreement and unrest caused with his newlywed wife, Amy Fowler Kane (Grace Kelly), must square up against a gang of deadly killers that are returning to the town that they are infamous in, led by their leader, who has been released from jail and is scheduled to arrive back on the noon train. An all-time western picture that is regarded as one of the most impressive of its time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Writers: Carl Foreman, John Cunningham
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Katy Jurado, Lee Van Cleef

Directed by Fred Zinnemann and released in 1952, High Noon takes place between the hours of 10:35am and 12:15pm in a small, sun-drenched American town, with the filmmaker trying their best to take the viewer on an impactful and suspenseful journey, rather than that of an action-packed, thrill-ride that many western filmmakers tried adopting around the same time of the film’s release.

One of, if not the most appealing aspect of High Noon, was the way in which a large amount of tension was injected into proceedings. There were several reasons for this, the first being that the film was structured as a real-time countdown between the lead character and rival gang of outlaws, thus building a sense of unease throughout, with another reason being the tone and visualisation of the flick. Interestingly, the filmmakers had originally intended to photograph the film in colour, but after some colour sequences where shot, they switched to black and white for artistic reasons.

In terms of the cast, Gary Cooper starred as the main man within the flick, adopting the role of Marshal Will Kane, with support reigning in from the likes of Grace Kelly and Katy Jurado, who portrayed Amy Fowler Kane and Helen Ramirez, respectively. Interestingly, there was also space for Lee Van Cleef, who’s place in High Noon was his own film debut – the American then went on to do great things in the western genre, mostly notable for his appearance in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

On a note relating to the casting, it must be said that there was something noticeable about the primary romance within the movie. The age gap between that of Gary Cooper’s character and Grace Kelly’s character sat at almost thirty years and most definitely affected their on-screen dynamic, with the large age gap being something that is still highlighted and picked up on today. With that being said, very little was actually said about the age gap during the release of the flick, back in 1952.

Many people regard High Noon as one of the finest American western productions of all time and it’s tricky to argue against that, although it certainly had one or two minor flaws. If you find yourself sustainable to a black and white western release, dating back over sixty-years, then I’d recommend High Noon highly.

“Don’t try to be a hero! You don’t have to be a hero, not for me!”

Amy Fowler Kane – High Noon


1 thought on “High Noon (1952) – Review

  1. Pingback: Western Wednesday – Lee Van Cleef | The DC Review Blog – EST. 2020

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