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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2012

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"High Noon" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

Synopsis

Produced at a total cost of about $750,000, "High Noon" is ranked at 33 in the top 100 greatest motion pictures of all time. In the small desert town of Hadleyville, Marshal Will Kane has just married Amy Fowler (Kelly), turns in his badge to make a life without a gun, and then discovers that a murderer, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), along with his brother Ben (Sheb Wooley) and two others, are coming into town on the noon train. Kane had sent Miller to prison to be hanged years ago, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison, and then he was released.

Since the new Marshal isn't due until the next day, Kane decides to stay and confront them in town, rather than out in the desert. This is against Amy's wishes, as she is a Quaker, and she threatens to leave on the train, rather than stay and see him killed.

Kane tries to get the townspeople to help him as deputies, but none come to his aid. Kane must face all four, alone.

Specifications

  • Olive Films
  • 1952, B&W, Not Rated, 1 Hr 25 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English Dolby Mono
  • Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Jr.
  • Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Rating
  • Entertainment: 
  • Video: 
  • Audio: 
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

There was a lot of political turmoil at the time this film was produced. Senator McCarthy was leading a witch hunt to find Communists in the movie-making business, presumably because so many people watched movies, they could have tremendous propaganda influence. Apparently, some of the actors in "High Noon" were targeted, and the movie had protest groups in front of the theaters showing it. In spite of all this, "High Noon" is considered by many to be the best western ever made. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won four, including Best Actor (Cooper), Best Editing, and Best Film Score. 

Technical

The image is sharp, with terrific highlight and shadow detail, the result of careful restoration. The sound is mono, and not very good fidelity, but it was restored as best as could be done.  

Extras

Besides the trailer, the only extra is The Making of.