High Noon (1952)

84-85 or 87 mins | Western | 30 July 1952

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Writer:

Carl Foreman

Cinematographer:

Floyd Crosby

Editor:

Elmo Williams

Production Designer:

Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

NYT articles from spring 1949 indicate that producer Stanley Kramer's company Screen Plays Corp. was to produce the film and that Mark Robson, who had directed earlier Kramer pictures, might direct it. According to a 12 Mar 1949 LAT news item, Kirk Douglas and Lola Albright were originally set to star in the film. Modern sources note that John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Gregory Peck were all considered to play "Will Kane" before Gary Cooper was signed for the role.
       According to a 10 Jan 1953 HCN article, actors James Brown, Roberta Haynes and John Daheim, all of whom are listed on HR production charts, shot scenes for the film that were deleted before the final release. In the article, Brown describes the deleted scenes: "They were to be intercuts all through the picture, the idea being that Cooper says he knows he can count on Toby (his other deputy) if he gets there in time. The cuts show me taking my time with fights and drinking beer at a stage coach 'stop' with Roberta. In the scene she lets me know that if I stay, the time won't be wasted as far as our romance is concerned."
       A studio plot synopsis contained in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS Library lists Brown's character as "Toby," Daheim's character as "Peterson," and Haynes's character as "a seductive Mexican girl." In a modern interview, associate producer and screenwriter Carl Foreman stated that the scenes with "Toby" were shot at the end of production, as insurance in case the film seemed too claustrophobic. The entire picture as ... More Less

NYT articles from spring 1949 indicate that producer Stanley Kramer's company Screen Plays Corp. was to produce the film and that Mark Robson, who had directed earlier Kramer pictures, might direct it. According to a 12 Mar 1949 LAT news item, Kirk Douglas and Lola Albright were originally set to star in the film. Modern sources note that John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Gregory Peck were all considered to play "Will Kane" before Gary Cooper was signed for the role.
       According to a 10 Jan 1953 HCN article, actors James Brown, Roberta Haynes and John Daheim, all of whom are listed on HR production charts, shot scenes for the film that were deleted before the final release. In the article, Brown describes the deleted scenes: "They were to be intercuts all through the picture, the idea being that Cooper says he knows he can count on Toby (his other deputy) if he gets there in time. The cuts show me taking my time with fights and drinking beer at a stage coach 'stop' with Roberta. In the scene she lets me know that if I stay, the time won't be wasted as far as our romance is concerned."
       A studio plot synopsis contained in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS Library lists Brown's character as "Toby," Daheim's character as "Peterson," and Haynes's character as "a seductive Mexican girl." In a modern interview, associate producer and screenwriter Carl Foreman stated that the scenes with "Toby" were shot at the end of production, as insurance in case the film seemed too claustrophobic. The entire picture as released takes place only in the town of "Hadleyville." [According to a modern source, the extra sequences were deleted to help strengthen the film's use of "real time," in which the length of the story and the length of the film are approximately the same. After the picture's release, many reviewers praised its effective employment of real time.]
       HR news items from 1951 add the following actors to the cast: Marilee Phelps, Charles McAvoy, Gertrude Chorre, Lee Aaker, Duncan Richardson, Crane Whitley, Bob Carson , Charles Leon Soldari and George Deer. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. HR production charts and news items note that the film was shot at the Motion Picture Center and on location at the Columbia Ranch in Burbank and in Sonora, CA. In a modern interview, Kramer and director Fred Zinnemann stated that they originally intended to photograph the film in color, but after some color sequences where shot, they switched to black and white for artistic reasons. Lee Van Cleef and Eve McVeagh made their screen debuts in the picture.
       Many modern sources assert that High Noon 's plot and characters were a reflection of Foreman's experiences with the House Committee on Un-American Activities and his subsequent blacklisting in the Hollywood community. In an interview in Film History , however, Zinnemann stated that, to his knowledge, Foreman had no such aspirations, adding that "The politics...for me were non-existent, and I would believe that they were non-existent for Coop[er]." In the same interview, the director vehemently denied a persistent rumor that the editing of Elmo Williams and Harry Gerstad "saved" the picture. The film, which garnered excellent reviews and was listed as a "box-office champion" by MPH , received Academy Awards for Best Actor (Cooper), Best Song, Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Film Editing. The picture also received Oscar nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
       Other awards included Golden Globes for Best Actor in a Drama (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jurado) and Best Black-and-White Cinematography; inclusion on the National Board of Review's list of the ten best films of the year; Best Film and Best Direction awards from the New York Film Critics; and the Best-Written American Drama award from the Writer's Guild of America. The film's ballad, "High Noon," was a huge hit both for Tex Ritter, whose singing is heard throughout the picture, and for Frankie Laine. In 1980, CBS televised High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane , a made-for-television sequel that was directed by Jerry Jameson and starred Lee Majors in the title role. On 20 Aug 2000, TBS produced High Noon, a television remake directed by Rod Hardy and starring Tom Skerritt and Susanna Thompson. High Noon was ranked 27th on AFI's 2007 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, moving up from the 33rd position it held on AFI's 1997 list. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 May 1952.
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 52
p. 3, 7
Film Daily
30 Apr 52
p. 6.
Film History
2000
Vol. 12, No. 1.
Harrison's Reports
3 May 52
p. 70.
Hollywood Citizen-News
10 Jan 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 51
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 52
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
12 Mar 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 May 52
p. 1349.
New York Times
10 Apr 1949.
---
New York Times
25 Jul 52
p. 14.
New York Times
3 Aug 1952.
---
The Exhibitor
7 May 52
p. 3291.
Variety
30 Apr 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Ladies' ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and dir
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eng
Magnetic rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Unit mgr
Head grip
Scr clerk
Casting dir
Dir of pub
Merchandising dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Tin Star" by John W. Cunningham in Collier's (6 Dec 1947).
SONGS
"High Noon," music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington, sung by Tex Ritter.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 July 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 July 1952
Production Date:
5 September--13 October 1951 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 August 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1846
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84-85 or 87
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15653
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At 10:30 on a quiet morning in 1870, three outlaws ride into the western town of Hadleyville just as its marshal, Will Kane, is being married to a pretty Quaker named Amy Fowler. To please Amy, Will resigns his post immediately after the ceremony, but he is troubled because the new marshal has not arrived to take his place. Suddenly the station master rushes in with the terrible news that Frank Miller, a wild outlaw whom Will had arrested for murder five years earlier, recently received a pardon and is due to arrive in Hadleyville on the noon train. The three outlaws, Jack Colby, Ben Miller and James Pierce, have ridden to the station and are awaiting Miller's arrival. Alarmed, the wedding guests urge Will and Amy to leave town immediately, but after only a few moments on the road, Will turns the wagon around and heads back. "I expect he'll come looking for me," Will replies when Amy asks for an explanation. Will's young wife begs him to leave with her, and when he protests that he has never run from anyone, she threatens to leave on the train whether or not he accompanies her. Will hurriedly begins to make plans for the town's defense, and is surprised when Judge Percy Mettrick, who had sentenced Miller to be hanged, packs his belongings and flees. Will is relieved to see Harvey Pell, his deputy, still in town, but Harvey, angry that an outsider was hired to replace the retiring marshal, agrees to stay only if Will promises to support his bid for the post. Will refuses, whereupon Harvey removes his guns and walks ... +


At 10:30 on a quiet morning in 1870, three outlaws ride into the western town of Hadleyville just as its marshal, Will Kane, is being married to a pretty Quaker named Amy Fowler. To please Amy, Will resigns his post immediately after the ceremony, but he is troubled because the new marshal has not arrived to take his place. Suddenly the station master rushes in with the terrible news that Frank Miller, a wild outlaw whom Will had arrested for murder five years earlier, recently received a pardon and is due to arrive in Hadleyville on the noon train. The three outlaws, Jack Colby, Ben Miller and James Pierce, have ridden to the station and are awaiting Miller's arrival. Alarmed, the wedding guests urge Will and Amy to leave town immediately, but after only a few moments on the road, Will turns the wagon around and heads back. "I expect he'll come looking for me," Will replies when Amy asks for an explanation. Will's young wife begs him to leave with her, and when he protests that he has never run from anyone, she threatens to leave on the train whether or not he accompanies her. Will hurriedly begins to make plans for the town's defense, and is surprised when Judge Percy Mettrick, who had sentenced Miller to be hanged, packs his belongings and flees. Will is relieved to see Harvey Pell, his deputy, still in town, but Harvey, angry that an outsider was hired to replace the retiring marshal, agrees to stay only if Will promises to support his bid for the post. Will refuses, whereupon Harvey removes his guns and walks out. Will visits his old flame, businesswoman Helen Ramirez, who had formerly been Miller's mistress. Will warns Helen about Frank, and she admits that she has sold her store and plans to depart on the noon train. In the saloon, men who enjoyed the rowdy times when Frank and his henchmen controlled the town celebrate his imminent return and refuse Will's request for help. Will then visits the home of his friend, Sam Fuller, but as Sam listens from the next room, his wife tells Will that he is not at home. Next, Will interrupts the church service to ask for deputies. Although several of the townspeople proclaim that it is Will who has made their town safe and decent, many of them also argue that Miller's impending arrival is not their problem. Finally, Mayor Jonas Henderson declares that a gunfight would hurt the town's image and that Will should have left when he had the chance. Stunned, Will leaves the church and asks his mentor, Martin Howe, for help. Howe, once the marshal himself, has become cynical, however, and after Will exits his home, he mumbles, "It's all for nothing, Will." Harvey, now drunk, tries to force Will to leave town, but Will refuses, and the two men fight until the marshal knocks his former deputy unconscious. As noon approaches, Amy visits Helen, who assures her that there is no longer anything between herself and Will. She also reproaches the young wife for not defending her husband, but softens after Amy reveals that both her father and brother were killed in a gunfight. In Will's office, the only citizen who had willingly pinned on a deputy's badge now backs out and goes home, leaving the marshal utterly alone. Will writes his last will and testament, then enters the deserted street as Amy and Helen drive a wagon toward the train station. The train arrives, and as Miller disembarks, the two women get on board. Miller straps on his gun, and the four outlaws walk toward the center of town, where Will awaits them. When one of the outlaws breaks a window, Will is able to duck inside a building and shoot him. Hearing the shot, Amy gets off the train and runs back to town. Will kills another of his attackers and takes cover in the livery stable, which the two remaining outlaws set on fire. As the frightened horses charge out, Will leaps on one and makes his escape, but falls after being shot in the arm. Amy shoots one of the gunmen in the back before he can shoot Will, but is captured by Miller, who uses her as a hostage. In response to Miller's threats, Will faces him in the street, but Amy pushes the outlaw, giving Will the chance to shoot him dead. Amy and Will embrace, and the townspeople rush into the street. Disgusted by the cowardice of his former friends, Will tosses his tin star in the dirt at their feet, then leaves with Amy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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