High Noon – Review

Made in 1952, this groundbreaking and low budget western hit cinema’s to a mix of good and bad feedback but went on to become an iconic and all-time classic of the genre, High Noon.

Gary Cooper stars as small-town Marshal Will Kane, who this fateful day is getting married and ready to leave town with his young bride Amy (Grace Kelly). However, plans are put on hold with the impending arrival of outlaw Frank, who he sent to prison years earlier, and his brutal gang. Unfolding in real-time, High Noon follows Will as he desperately tries to assemble a posse with the reluctant people of the town, who want Will to forget about a conflict — as does Amy, a Quaker pacifist who just wants to avoid violence. But as high noon approaches, Will realises he must do the moral thing…with or without anyone’s help.

Written by Carl Foreman and directed by Fred Zinnemann the movie has a very simple set up but is done with style and great atmosphere, helped by a great and unusual score for the time by Dimitri Tiomkin and edited brilliantly by Elmo Williams. The supporting cast are also excellent, look out for LLoyd Bridges as a cowardly deputy and Lee Van Cleef in a small part as one of the gang who are waiting for the arrival of Frank at noon at the railway station. The film won Gary Cooper his second Oscar but the film was hated by a few such as director John Ford and actor John Wayne who called it ” the most un-American thing I’ve seen in my whole life”

The Blu ray released by Eureka is from a 4K Digital restoration and looks superb. The intentional grey look of the town and surrounding areas add greatly to the atmosphere and blacks are solid in a truly great 4: 3 transfer.

Audio gives you a Linear PCM 2.0 mono soundtrack and is clear with no distortion or cracks and pops. The extras are also plentiful with two audio commentaries from western authority Stephen Prince and historian Glenn Frankel, interviews with Neil Sinyard and Carl Foreman as well as three documentaries The Making of High Noon [22 mins], Inside High Noon [47 mins] and Behind High Noon [10 mins].

A great western which just gets better with age, High Noon certainly deserves its status as one of the best Westerns ever made and this new disc from Eureka has given it its best presentation yet.

FILM: 8.5 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 8

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