High Noon (1952)
Starring- Gary Cooper, Lloyd Bridges, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
with appearances by Lon Chaney Jr.
Westerns have always been rather hit or miss with me. Even the good ones fail to connect and spark interest at times. However, High Noon is one that certainly hits all the right spots for me.
I will always enjoy shootouts between sheriffs and legendary outlaws (and their cronies) rather than the cowboys vs indians (and not the Cleveland Indians mind you) thing. I find that not only racist, but incredibly insensitive (often flat out works of fiction, too).
This western isn’t all that complex. A marshal needs to face the return of a deadly outlaw he faced in his earlier days. He discovers that the town he had once protected will not help him. Now he must take on these ruthless outlaws essentially alone. How can he possibly survive?
This western gets quickly to the point and stays at a good pace throughout. The characters all have reasons for how they act in this film. There is a great question of whether this marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) should stay or leave town with his wife (there were recently married).
This film also uses its great casting wonderfully. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly are wonderful together. Lloyd Bridges as Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell adds more tension and intrigue to the film.
All in all, this is easily one of the greatest westerns ever created (I’m fairly certain it makes my top 5.)