High Noon

Why Watch It: Because it’s well-made award-winning western. Because this 1952 film is a good instance of real-time drama where a minute of screen time equals a minute of the narrative, done long before 24 hit our TV screens. Because its a cool screenplay based on a nice short story {John W. Cunningham’s Tin Star}. And because of the fine acting and screen presence of Gary Cooper who plays Marshal Will Kane.

Warning: Plot spoilers ahead.

Marshal Will Kane gives dreaded Frank Miller the royal treatment
Marshal Will Kane gives dreaded Frank Miller the royal treatment

Story: Marshal Will Kane {Gary Cooper} has married his fiance Amy Fowler {Grace Kelly} and is on the last day of his office. Just then, there is news that the notorious bandit Frank Miller captured by Sheriff Will and his posse, is returning by the train at noon. Will is persuaded to leave the town ahead of his retirement hour. He decides to leave the town but realises that he is still the town marshal and the proud wearer of the tin star. So he decides to create a posse to stymy the crime wave about to erupt.

Will’s deputy Harvey Pell tries to make a bargain before agreeing to help Will, but Will refuses on account of principle. Only one man signs up with Will, so Will goes around town asking for help. People either hide from Will or offer excuses. Finally, the man who signs up with Will sees the lack of response and withdraws his name leaving Will all alone. Meanwhile, Harvey tries to force Will to leave leading to a fistfight.

Will’s wife states that she is a Quaker and cannot engage in violence and proceeds to leave the noon drive . Frank arrives in town and with his group, he begins to damage the stores. Will sees that the law is being broken and engages them. He shoots down two of the outlaws. Amy hears the gunfire sounds and leaves the train still waiting at the stop. She reaches the scene and guns down one of Frank’s. Frank disarms Amy and takes her hostage. He tries to make Will surrender but gets killed instead.

Marshall Will Kane, having completed his last hours of duty, looks at the townsfolk in disgust and turns in the tin star, and leaves.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5 for the pace, screenplay, and acting. If you want to catch a flick of this genre choose this one.