High Noon

Directed by Fred Zinnemann.
With Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges.
US, 1952, DCP, black & white, 85 min.
DCP source: Swank

Fred Zinnemann’s now-classic moral Western was despised by Hawks and John Wayne, who decried the Austrian-born director’s vision of the West as “un-American.” In truth, Zinnemann was inspired by the distinctly “un-American” sentiments transforming Hollywood—the HUAC trials and Red Scare that had punished many politically outspoken artists and victimized countless others with a culture of fear and self-serving conservative rectitude. Viewed today, High Noon stands upright not only as a cautionary tale about how the high road is often the loneliest, but also as a remarkable exploration of subjective and expressive narrative in which the almost real-time structure allows each passing minute to be felt as lashes across the back of Gary Cooper’s sheriff as he walks in a kind of Passion through the increasingly deserted town toward the deadly showdown that awaits.

Part of film series

Read more

The Complete Howard Hawks

Other film series with this film

Read more

Cold War Paranoia