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High Noon (1952)
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado
Directed by: Fred Zinnemann, Produced by: Stanley Kramer, Elmo Williams
Cooper is Hollywood's perfect hero, the very embodiment of integrity and grace in this greatest of Westerns. As a newly married town marshal, he must balance an innate sense of justice and duty with loyalty to his beautiful new--and pacifist--bride when he is left by an ungrateful town to face a gang of deadly outlaws alone. As we watch spellbound, film time is real time as the showdown grows ever closer.
A masterpiece. Frequently interpreted as a parable about artists left to "stand alone" and face persecution during the HUAC Hollywood blacklisting. (However, Howard Hawks allegedly devised "Rio Bravo" as an answer to this film's "wimpiness." Also, John Wayne once declared High Noon un-American. He was apparently offended by the ending of the film, which shows Sheriff Kane removing his badge and tossing it in the dirt.) A made-for-TV sequel, High Noon Part II: Return of Will Kane, aired in 1980. Academy Award Nominations: 7, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay.
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