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High Noon

“People’ve gotta talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it, maybe because down deep, they don’t care – they just don’t care.”

“High Noon” is often cited as one of the greatest westerns ever made, and a lot of that praise is likely because it was so different from other westerns at the time. It was bleak and black-and-white. There was hardly any action in it. And it was a character piece. This story didn’t have to be set in the old west – it could work in many genres (as we’ll explore next week). It’s more about the protagonist and his struggle to stay true to what he believes in the face of incredible odds. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Movies and Their Remakes series with Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 classic “High Noon.” We talk about why this film works, but more specifically why it doesn’t work as well for us on this most recent rewatch. We chat about Gary Cooper and our struggles with him as an actor, despite him being such a popular performer. We discuss the history of this script and story, and how it got tangled up with HUAC. We talk about Zinnemann and his cinematographer Floyd Crosby, the look they went for in the film, what they did with the camera and why they didn’t do more of it. We touch on the earworm of a song and how it really saved the movie. And we deliberate on the nature of real-time storytelling and its implications in making a gripping yarn. It’s a classic, to be sure, but not one that was at the top of our lists. Inevitably, problems with a film make for a great conversation so make sure you check out the movie and tune in!

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