182: High Noon

High Noon (PG) - 1952 - Runtime: 85 minutes
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges
Director: Fred Zinneman

Another western! I was knocking these down one day, it was somewhat satisfying. I think I've come to appreciate westerns with this whole project - when they're good, they're really good. But sometimes they're just plain awful (coughTheSearcherscough), even though people seem to hold them in regards as great movies. High Noon is one of those highly regarded movies, and while I don't think it's great, it ends up somewhere in the middle - not exactly bad, but not something I would watch over and over.

The story is simple: Gary Cooper plays Marshall Will Kane who's all set to retire and leave town. But when an old enemy gets pardoned and is set to arrive back in town on the noon train, Kane is forced to confront the man with only himself. Much like On the Waterfront, the movie is more of an allegory about the blacklisting that happened in Hollywood. Kane searches high and low throughout the town finding anyone to help him deal with this no good criminal, Frank Miller. Of course, no one wants to fight the good fight, instead they plead ignorance and, in some cases, justify the return of Miller. The hotel owner is actually quite mad at Kane for cleaning up the streets - he was busy when Miller was running the town, his place was full of drunkards and outlaws, but now it's empty. There's a bit of subplot involving Lloyd Bridges as the up and coming new Marshall, and his lover, who was the former lover of both Kane and Miller. It's not as intriguing as it might sound, because the movie doesn't spend that much time with that story.

In fact, the movie takes place in real time. So the movie starts at almost an hour and half before the noon train arrives. The movie is all about Kane trying to rally the troops, to no avail. It's not quite as tension-filled because you know in the end he's going to have to fight Miller and his posse alone. But the movie does a good job of creating that tension and showing the struggle of Kane trying to convince the town of all the good he's done. He even struggles to convince his new wife (Grace Kelly), but the movie doesn't spend too much time on their relationship for me to care.

All in all, this one was pretty good. It's a great tale about standing for what's right and all that crap, but I wouldn't say that it's so good it's worth the high praise it gets all the time. If you haven't seen it yet, definitely seek it out to rent!

Rating: Rent It!

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