in about 100 words or less
USA 85m, B&W
Director: Fred Zinnemann; Cast: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly
In the American western genre, High Noon changed the way westerns looked and how the hero was supposed to act. As the marshal of the town of Hadleyville, Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper, is abandoned by the townsfolk and left to defend himself against bad-guy Frank Miller and his gang, who come back to town seeking revenge for Kane’s role in sending Miller to jail. Cooper’s portrayal of Kane is a classic – as he subtly plays this dark, complex, realistic and flawed lawman. Likewise, the lead female characters are atypical of the genre – as they are not only capable of looking after themselves, but play key roles in the outcome of the plot. The film’s gritty look, unorthodox screenplay, original characters and unapologetic ending were years ahead of their time – which is good reason why High Noon remains one of the most important westerns ever produced (Klaus Ming March 2010).