High Noon

Left in Flyover Country

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It’s kind of hilarious to read about American political factions laying claim to High Noon over the years. Carl Foreman’s script doesn’t exactly play like partisan rhetoric. Detailing a (roughly) 85-minute buildup to a shootout between a retiring marshal and a pardoned outlaw getting together with his buddies for some vengeance, there’s an overwhelming emphasis on the breakdown of ideals. Men projecting a stalwart image turning into opportunists and cowards. Written in the face of HUAC and blacklisting, which drove Foreman from the States, the film shows how quickly righteousness becomes impotent rage.

Hearing of the coming doom, Will Kane (Gary Cooper) decides to stay, compelled by a sense of obligation, over the protestations of his new wife. Given his popularity with the locals, he figures it will be easy to round up deputies and squash the threat with sheer numbers. A fleeing judge and a quitting right-hand man later…

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