The making of High Noon

I love pretty much everything about the film High Noon (1952), from the story, the acting, the music, and the morality it represented. I have reviewed it before and discussed some of the plot holes. But this is the kind of film where one easily forgives such things. The filmmakers seemed to have ignored those things that did not affect the main story.

The fact that it ticked off macho poseurs like John Wayne and the right-wing politicians who were using anti-Communist hysteria to blacklist liberals and progressives only added to my enjoyment of the film. That kind of thinking is, unfortunately, making a comeback.

So I was pleased to come across this short documentary from 1992 about the making of the film and the political climate of the time narrated by film critic Leonard Maltin. He says that the filmmakers made the film starker by using black and white instead of color, and leaner by not providing backstories for the characters and eliminating subplots and comedic elements. The resulting film is taut and spare and completely engrossing despite the lack of typical western film action.

If you are one of the people who have not seen this film, you have missed a treat. As has been often said, this is a western for people who don’t like westerns.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    For me, an overrated “classic”. It’s a good movie, but IMO Shane and The Ox-Bow Incident (at the very least) leave it in their trail dust. Not least because of the talentless Grace Kelly. Among Cooper’s Westerns, I’d rate The Westerner higher.

  2. Mano Singham says

    Rob @#3,

    I liked Shane a lot but have not seen the other two. I will check them out. Thanks for the tip.

  3. mnb0 says

    I never thought much about High Noon either. Not bad, mind you, and I’ve actively avoided everything with John Wayne. But is it predictable.
    I’ll remember High Noon mainly because it has one of my favourite villains.

  4. Mano Singham says

    Lee Van Cleef was a good villain. In this film, he did not say a single word, just like in that commercial. Apparently he had wanted to play the part given to Lloyd Bridges as the deputy.

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