Watching High Noon – Must Watch Classic

(Recommended by SI reader guruprasad)

Just received the High Noon DVD from Netflix.

Released in 1952, the 85-minute movie features Gary Cooper and our beloved Grace Kelly.

Directed by Fred Zinnemann, the movie went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Actor for Gary Cooper.

High Noon is not our first Gary Cooper film. We’ve seen him along with our all time favorite sweetheart Ingrid Bergman in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

According to Wiki:

In 1989, High Noon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, entering the registry during the latter’s first year of existence. The film is #27 on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of great films. [#33 today, i.e. May 5, 2009]

We’ll update this post after we finish watching the movie.


A must watch classic.

To all ye dickheads in ignoranceville who think we are harsh on Bollywood or Kollywood, cry, ye schmucks, cry over your misfortune.

Grieve not just for what you are missing by way of quality movies but also for what you know not you are missing.

Hollywood was making much such wonderful films in the early 1950s and six decades later we still churn out trash like Drona, Chandni Chowk to China, Villu and Aegan. If this isn’t a tragedy, we don’t know what else qualifies.

High Noon is not merely a 85-minute film. The entire events in this black and white movie happen over roughly a 85-minute period.

Although officially classified in the Western genre, we would classify it as a neo-Western because there really is very little action except for the last six minutes or so. None of the glorious horse races or the dust rising here. No sir. Not here.

On the Noon Train
Trouble is in the air.

It’s 10:40 in the morning. And word comes to the small town Hadleyville that notorious murderer Frank Miller is returning on the noon train after his release from prison. His three buddies are already at the train station, waiting for him.

So, what is the just married town marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper), who is getting ready to leave the town for good, to do? You see, before going to prison, Frank has vowed to return and kill Kane. Frank is also a bad man whose return heralds bad times again for the town.

And Kane’s Quaker wife Amy (Grace Kelly) is most unhappy when he turns the horses around and threatens to leave on the same noon train.

What does Will Kane choose – love or duty?

And what about the town-people? Will they rally to the call of the marshal to help save the town or will they turn tail and run in the face of imminent danger?

Watch High Noon to find out for yourself. And you’ll thank us.

Is it Perfect?
Of course, not. Gary Cooper looks far too old for the young Grace Kelly. But that’s the only jarring note in this classic.

The acting is solid and the story holds your attention throughout.

High Noon is an outstanding accomplishment from director Fred Zinnemann and, hey, watch out for the nice twist. No, we ain’t telling you more. No, we ain’t.

Great Lines
Here’s a nice one from the movie. As the saloon owner Helen Ramirez says:

It takes more than big broad shoulders to make a man, Harvey. And you have a long way to go.

And so do you, Bollywood. A long way to go.

A moment later, Helen then tells Harvey:

You know something? I don’t think you will ever make it.

Yes, Bollywood. We don’t think you’ll ever make it.

Oh, we almost forgot to tell you one more reason to watch this movie – the song Do not forsake me, oh my darling.

If you live in the U.S., you can get High Noon from Netflix. If you live in India, online stealing is up your alley anyway. 😉

5 Responses to "Watching High Noon – Must Watch Classic"

  1. Raju   May 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    The Wrestler was very good.. I liked ugly Mickey better than Sean Penn in Milk.. Tomei@wrestler wasn’t as good as Tomei@before*devil*

  2. guruprasad.s   May 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I thought you had forgotten High Noon.

    “You are a good looking guy with big broad shoulders, but Kane is a man” is my favourite line in the movie, closely followed by all the lines you have quoted.

    The song “Do not forsake me …”, and its music that also acts as the background music for the movie, alone, is worth listening many many times.

    It has been about 20 months since I first saw this movie, and I keep watching it every now and then, especially the song.

    You may not publish the following, since it may act as a spoiler:

    [Deleted] Responds:

    Here’s the YouTube link to Do Not forsake me, oh My Darlin.

  3. mihi_rex   May 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Kane, with a bitter look in his face, grabs his badge and throws it down to the ground. He then leaves with his wife on a horse-drawn carriage.

    What are your favorite scenes? Responds:

    Our favorites scenes:

    1. The one you cite above.
    2. Kane and Amy meet in the lobby of the saloon & both think the other has changed his/her mind.
    3. When Kane meets the guy with the patch on one eye who insists on fighting with him. Kane gives him a nickel and asks him to go have a drink.
    4. Helen Ramirez telling Harvey he’s not a man despite his big broad shoulders.
    5. The coffin seller asking his assistant to make more coffins (at the beginning). Later, when Kane comes there after the fight with Harvey to clean himself up there’s the noise of the assistant in the background. After he’s cleaned up, Kane tells the owner that the assistant can resume his work.
    6. Periodic shots of the railroad tracks – as a metaphor for the big trouble that it’s bringing to the town (in the form of Frank Miller).

  4. guruprasad.s   May 7, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Add to the list a few more scenes:

    1. Three kids chasing another kid (who is play-acting the role of Kane), who bumps into Kane himself.

    2. The brief conversation b/w Helen and Kane:
    Helen: Kane, if you are smart, you will get out of this.
    Kane: There isnt time.
    Helen: I know.

  5. sganeshkumar1989   January 31, 2010 at 3:57 am

    I can say with surety that I might have never even come across this movie if not for you and Guruprasad(Again!).

    At least,I’ve heard about 12 Angry Men,Once Upon A Time In West and found them in many top 50/100 lists;but did not come across High Noon.

    It’s really a fine Western movie,the opening song alone is worth a Ton of Gold.

    Will write more later. 🙂 Responds:

    After watching Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, we’re in an ‘anti-Guru’ mood these days.

    We’ll buy that opening song from High Noon Do not forsake me Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling one of these days.

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