High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
High Noon is one of the best films of all time.
Included on the New York Times and other lists of masterpieces.
It won four Academy Awards, including a deserved one for
- Best Actor in a Leading Role for Gary Cooper
The tagline is more than accurate:
- Simple. Powerful. Unforgettable.
This summarizes excellently the qualities of the narrative.
If the presentation of a film is generally an exaggeration, here it could be an understatement.
Gary Cooper is a "real horror show" to quote A Clockwork Orange.
He is fabulous as the Marshal Will Kane.
His partner is no less mesmerizing
Grace Kelly already shows all the grace of a princess in the role of Amy Fowler Kane.
Will and Amy are married early on in the film.
He is supposed to hand in his badge and the town has found another sheriff that will start work the following day.
Only right after the wedding ceremony, terrible news sadden those in attendance:
- Frank Miller and his three criminal buddies will hit town at Noon
Will Kane is urged to leave town in a hurry.
In the past, he is the one who caught the killer.
Sent up North, he escaped not just the hanging that was a sure thing, but they just freed him.
Everyone knows that he is coming to take his revenge.
As various people in the town said in different statements:
- We all know who this Frank Miller is
- He is a vicious, bloody, cruel killer
In the first place, Will Kane does take the buggy and hits the road with his bride.
After a few miles he stops though.
- I can't leave, I have to go back!
- No, we must go!
Amy Fowler is a quicker and against any fighting at all.
We learn at one stage that she had seen her father and nineteen year old brother die.
- They were fighting for the good cause!But what does it matter?
- They are dead anyway!!
This film is "medicine" to use the leitmotif from Little Big Man.
Will Kane is the Ultimate Super Hero.
Superman who has doubts, fears but goes ahead anyway.
He is acutely aware of the extreme danger, but he has a duty and goes to an extreme to fulfill.
It is flabbergasting to see him stand alone against three men.
And in circumstances that would call for an immediate exit.
The people he defends offer:
- No help at all!
It is excruciating to see the sheriff trying to get a few men to stand against villains that could destroy their town and getting no support at all.
One is tempted to say:
- Let those cowards alone!
- Go away!
- Let them pay for their selfishness.
If a group of, say twenty men with rifles stood against the malefactors they would prevail.
All that the townsfolk could do is to speak a lot about the danger, the money they pay for marshals, that it is not their fight.
In disgust, Will Kane does throw the badge in the dust of the road at one point.
Making matters not just worse, but unbearable, his wife says:
- Come with me!
- If you don't, I will take the train on my own.
This has reminded me of Brideshead Revisited and the line
- Sebastian contra mundum
In High Noon it is
- Will Kane against all the evil
Why does he defend this community that deserves no protection from this Demi God?
Because he is just about perfect.
He does what is right for those people in spite of everything...
- "A real horror show"
Angelic heroes, both Will and Amy, even if the latter has some moments of frailty.