Speaks his mind on music & movies!
This was another film that CB’s dad turned him onto. ‘High Noon’ was another great movie.
Three rough looking cowboys meet up out in hard country. They ride into town and they’re not looking to be sociable. They are noticed by the town folk and their presence starts a stir. We cut to a small wedding ceremony. Sheriff Will Kane is marrying Amy and they are planning to leave town right away. Will retiring as the towns law-keeper. Meanwhile our three cowboys are at the station where we find out that they’re waiting for Frank Miller to arrive. Miller is fresh out of prison and heading back to the town to settle a score with Kane. The telegraph operator catches wind of this and runs to warn Will. The news upends Will’s plans of leaving. Despite everyone pleading with him to go, including his new bride, he decides to stay and face Miller and his gang. With his wife leaving him and the town not willing to back him up Kane is forced to fight his conscience and face the trouble by himself. He has an hour until the train arrives at high noon.
Fred Zinnemann takes Carl Foreman’s script and delivers a tight, well paced piece of work. Floyd Crosby is behind the camera and grabs some memorable shots. Elmo Williams and Harry W. Gerstad do wonders with their editing. Dimitri Tiomkin provides the theme music and it helps set the tone (love the tune). The images of the clock keeping time, the shots of the railroad tracks and the thought of what’s coming. You feel the pressure of the story (Kane’s feelings). The time and place are with us constantly.
The performances are solid. Katy Jurado, Lloyd Bridges, Lon Chaney Jr, Otto Kruger, Grace Kelly all fit the bill. The four heavies cap it. But it’s Gary Cooper that carries the film. As Will Kane he creates a memorable film character. Cooper’s performance is so natural and real that he is never caught acting. You really feel the emotions and the burden he carries. The shots of him walking the streets in his thoughts are some of Babyhead’s favorites. In private moments he is so in character that we are drawn in. Cooper made it look easy. No bullshit in his work. A CB hall of famer for sure.
A couple of scenes stick out (there are so many). The kids being released from church so the adults can talk. They run out cheering like they’ve been freed. CB loved it. And the scene of the two women in his life riding by him at the end. Man can you feel Kane’s loneliness.
So revisit, discover and enjoy a really good motion Picture. I can’t get that theme song out of my head (Tex Ritter singing ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin” . The clip below does a better job of explaining the film than CB does. Put it on full screen and catch some great movie stills.
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