Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
This film a day project was an idea I had to fulfill two goals: watch a bunch of movies, get better at writing. Along the way I plan to fill in gaps of my cinephile education. Today’s film High Noon (1952) is a long overdue viewing. I watched this film as part of the Reel Education Podcast the episode will be out soon, I will update this post when it does. I had a pleasant time talking about the film with hosts Melissa and Tim, in short this film deserves its place in revered cinema history. Since we talked at length about the film on the podcast, the review will be rather brief from me.
High Noon for those who haven’t seen it is the story of Marshall Will Kane (Gary Cooper) who stands on his own against four outlaws. Their leader was a man Kane sent to prison years back, and is on his way back via train, looking for revenge. The train arrives at noon, and Kane must gather a posse to stop the men. The town refuses to help Kaine and he is forced to stand on his own. He manages to prevail and he is able to go on with his life.
The film was penned by Carl Foreman, who escaped to the UK after going before the House Un-American Activities Committee to avoid the Hollywood blacklist. With that knowledge it is easy to see this film is an obvious metaphor for the cowardice Hollywood displayed displayed during the HUAC hearings. If only the industry had stood up to McCarthy, then nobody would’ve been blacklisted. Instead they were cowards, like the citizens of Hadleyville. Only through the bravery, determination, and some help from his wife Amy (Grace Kelly) is Kane able to overcome the threat.
Classic black and white films often look stunning, and High Noon is no exception. The cinematography is phenomenal, some of my favorite shots involve clocks, the constant reminder of the looming conflict. This pairs well with the near real time pacing of the film as we head to the showdown. In a film built around a shootout, it’s the least intense part of the film, everything leading up to it is.
The performances in the film are quite excellent. Gary Cooper won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. His subtle reactions, and quiet anger play well in the portrayal of stoic Wil Kane. It’s no wonder so many action heros are cut from the Wil Kane mold Cooper created with this character. This is a honorable man, a brave man, and a man of action who gets the job done. Grace Kelly is charming a relatable as a Quaker who hates that her husband is determined to see this through (even though it’s the right thing to do). Lloyd Bridges is great as a cowardly and repetitious deputy Marshal who is only looking out for himself.
High Noon is a masterpiece of storytelling, acting, cinematography and score. It’s craft and DNA is weaved throughout cinema in all of the years following its release. A blueprint and gold standard of the lone hero, and a political allegory all in one. This is a must watch film for all cinema buff and filmmakers. Don’t wait 36 years to watch it like I did.
Movies new to me watched: 30/292
Other movies: 9/73
Total movies watched: 39/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.