Monday, March 23, 2009

HIGH NOON (1952)

Regarded & acclaimed as the greatest & the best B & W western ever made, ‘High Noon’ is without doubt one of the finest example of taut film making by legendary Director Fred Zinnemann. Set within a duration of just 80 minutes, it’s exactly the story of actual 80 minutes tense screen time. I’ve never seen any film maintaining the technicality of time duration with detailing of minutes by minutes. Needless to say the editing is matchless.
On the morning of his wedding day Marshal Will Kane, knows that convicted murderer & his sole enemy Frank Miller will be arriving on the noon train to get his revenge back against Marshal for putting him into prison. Its last day of Kane in the town & nobody in the town willing to help him, even the judge, his fellow colleagues & deputies escaped. Kane has to face the fight alone & its showdown time for him & the final gun battle provides a nail biting climax. I never get so desperate to see the face of villain as in the case of Frank Miller.
There are so many reasons why you must watch this classic western. It’s more about choosing conscience over easy way out & the conflict one faces in action after the things not coming in expected way. Gary Cooper delivers a powerful performance as the law enforcer Marshal Will Kane who sticks to his conscience alone till the end. He got his second Oscar of Best Actor for this film. Grace Kelly looks so youthful & truly a blonde goddess.

Fred Zinneman is one of the technically flawless director. Filmed in classic Black & white frames, the evocative long shots highlight the tension as time slowly slips away.
‘High Noon’ is not just another western, but a morality play that had great political relevance at that time. Watch his meeting scene with old Marshal & you will get my point. The film got four Oscars including Best Actor & Best film editing. Director Fred Zinneman got nominations but didn’t win but the next year (1953) he got his due award of Best Director for ‘From Here To Eternity’. Apart of this two touchstone classics by Zinneman; my all-time personal favorite is ‘The Day of Jackal’ which I regard as the textbook example of thriller film making.

Truly the classic Western of all time.

Ratings- 10/10

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