High Noon

Director: Fred Zinnemann

Cast: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Thomas Mitchell, Otto Kruger, Ian MacDonald, Lon Chaney, Jr., Harry Morgan, Eve McVeagh, Lee Van Cleef, Morgan Farley, Harry Shannon, Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley

Marshall Will Kane (Cooper) marries Amy Fowler (Kelly), a Quaker with deeply held pacifist principles, on his last day in Hadleyville. The two plan to start a new life in another place in the West, where Kane will not be a lawman. That morning, three men (Van Cleef, Wilke, and Wooley), armed and with the rough look of outlaws, wait impatiently at the train station. Kane is celebrating his wedding when word arrives that Frank Miller (MacDonald), the outlaws’ leader, has been pardoned and is on his way to Hadleyville. Kane was responsible for Miller’s conviction and sentence to hang, and now Miller seeks revenge. He is due on the noon train. Urged by the townspeople to flee and avoid a confrontation with Miller and his gang, Kane and Amy leave town immediately, but Kane soon turns back, telling a disenchanted Amy that with his replacement not due until the next day, he cannot leave the town to face Miller and his gang unprotected. Back in town, Kane sets out to deputize enough of the townspeople to ward off Frank Miller’s gang. Harvey Pell (Bridges), the deputy Marshall, disappointed that Kane did not recommend him to be his successor, refuses to support Kane. Pell is the lover of Kane’s former mistress, Helen Ramirez (Jurado), who reminds him that Kane is a better man. Kane asks his friends to join him as deputies until the new Marshall arrives. But, one after another, they let him down. With less than an hour before the noon train arrives, Kane has been unable to recruit a force to deter Miller’s gang. He seeks help from Helen Ramirez, who has financial interests and influence in town, but she fears Miller and is making preparations to leave. Amy appeals to Kane, wanting them to leave while they can. The two argue, and Amy tells him she will leave him. But with only minutes before noon, Kane has no time for arguments and goes back to round up deputies. Minister Mahin (Farley) chides Kane for daring to enter his church seeking men that would kill and maybe die, when that morning he did not see fit to get married there. Preparing to leave on the train that will bring Miller to town, Amy has a brief meeting with Helen Ramirez. Helen, a practical businesswoman who has learned to look after herself, tells Amy she is leaving, but she also tells her if Kane were her man, she’d never leave him like this. When the train arrives at high noon Kane must face Miller and his gang alone. The film is supported by haunting music by Dimitri Tiomkin, with vocals by Frankie Laine and Tex Ritter. Based on the story The Tin Star, by John W. Cunningham.


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