Wednesday, 30 December 2009

High Noon (1952) - A review

Long before the likes of the popular TV series called 24, there was High Noon - a Western originally released in 1952, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. I watched this movie recently, as part of my on-going mission to watch as many as I can out of the American Film Institute's list of top 100 movies.

I'm not typically a fan of Westerns, so I put off watching High Noon several times before I eventually bit the bullet a couple of days ago. I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The story is told in real-time (hence my reference to 24). In summary, it's about a retiring Marshall (you know... Sheriff, law-man...) who finds out on the day of his wedding that a dangerous criminal he arrested has been pardoned, and is on his way back to the town, bent on revenge. He is then torn between his loyalty to his new bride, the town, and his own honour.

This movie had me gripped from near the beginning to the end, largely due to the real-time telling of the story, building up to the climax at high noon. It was superbly acted, each scene moving you steadily towards the inevitable showdown.

The movie's theme song, "The Ballad of High Noon" (or, "Do not forsake me oh my darlin") irritated me from the start of the movie, where it seemed not to fit squarely with the action on screen. However, the words clearly underpinned the motives of the hero as he proceeded along his chosen path. I must say, the song grew on me, and several days later, it's still playing in my head! Perhaps that's because it was played in one form or another throughout the movie from the beginning to the end! Seriously, I can recall no other tune in the movie - at all. Having said this, I wasn't too surprised to see that it won the Oscar that year for "Best Original Song". It was quite obvious to me while watching the movie that those concerned were shooting for this honour, and were keen to ensure nobody would forget the tune!

At the end of the day, I'd give High Noon a 4 out of 5. It had more story than action (which is a plus in my books), but I must deduct a point for their playing that song over and over and over again. I might reconsider the point if I ever succeed in getting it out of my head...

1 comment:

When Pigs Fly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Haven't seen High Noon although it's one I know I should have. Maybe I will have to rent it.