Gary Cooper (b. 05/07/01) shown here with Grace Kelly in the 1952 release of "High Noon".  Cooper died May 16, 1961 at the age of 60 from terminal cancer.





























Link to Shane Movie Review:  Shane


The 1952 release of High Noon is a classic in the art of Western film production.  I rate it number one on my list of all time great movie westerns.

The basic gist of the story starts with a newly married marshal, Will Kane, who is being replaced by a new marshal on the morrow.  He learns after the ceremony that an ex-con by the name of Frank Miller is arriving by train at noon today.  Three of Miller's gang, including his brother Ben, will be waiting for Frank to arrive.  They are all planning to enter town for a showdown with the marshal and his deputies.  Years earlier, Frank had been captured by the marshal for his wrongdoings and sent off to prison but during the trial, he vowed to return and kill those responsible - primarily the marshal and the town judge.

The movie is enhanced throughout by the music "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'" by Dimitri Tiomkin and lyrics by New Washington.  One of the unique features of this movie was the focus on clocks and the time that was gradually moving to high noon.  The first movie scene recorded the time at around 10:30AM and progressed to noon when the showdown took place.  The movie time was more or less in sync to actual real time.  Most every building had a clock that was used to project the importance of time throughout the picture.

Upon hearing of Miller and his gang, the townsfolk decided to send the marshal packing with his new wife a day early but partway out of town, the marshal has second thoughts about leaving and decides to go back and face the gang.  He tells his wife that he must stop Miller and his bunch now because if he didn't, they would have to live in fear of them for the rest of their lives.  She insists that they continue on their way for fear of changing her status from that of wife to that of a widow.  The marshal tells her that he cannot leave town yet until this whole thing is over.  She tells the marshal that she will be leaving on the next train out of town.

When he gets back to town, the people are somewhat upset about his reappearance but the marshal is adamant about the showdown between him and the Miller gang.  He decides that he could use some help in rounding up the gang so he goes to local saloon to ask for some help.  He also goes to the church to try and persuade the perishinors for assistance.  They all turn him down.  By this time his deputies are dropping like flies after a spray of Raid.  Every one of his deputies, even the old sheriff turn him down.  One man volunteers but the marshal tells him thanks but no thanks.  It is the town drunk.

As time draws closer to noon, the marshal visits with an old flame, a Mexican woman, who was Frank Miller's woman years ago.  She tells him that she can't save him since she has no influence over Frank Miller anymore.  She decides to sell her ownership in the saloon to her silent partner and leave town on the same noon train that will bring Frank Miller to town.  The marshal's wife goes to her room at the hotel to find out if there is anything between her and her husband but she tells her that there isn't.  She tells Mrs Kane that she can stay in her room until the train arrives in town.

Harvey Pell, one of Kane's deputies, decides to help the marshal get out of town by saddling his horse.  Kane tells Harvey that he's not leaving and a knock-down drag-out affair occurs with Kane getting the upper hand by punching Harvey's lights out.  Kane, decides to help Harvey out by tossing a bucket of water on him just prior to leaving the stable.

Kane heads for the barbershop to get cleaned up a bit after the tussle at the stable.  He hears hammering sounds from out back and asks whats going on.  The barber tells him that they are fixing up the place -- all the while knowing that his worker is building caskets for the coming showdown at noon.  Kane flips the barber a coin when he finishes with him and tells him that his man can "get back to work now". 

Just prior to hearing the train whistle, the marshal prepares his last will and testiment.

As one of his last official acts as marshal, he opens the door to a cell and lets Charlie , another town drunkard, out to go home and sleep it off.  Charlie asks if the saloon is open but the marshal insists that he go straight home.

When the clock strikes noon and the sound of the train whistle is heard in town, the marshal hits the street just in time to see his wife and his old flame pass by in the buckboard heading to the train station.  He begins walking down the center of the street when all of a sudden he hears glass breaking from around the corner.  He ducks around a building and comes up behind the Miller gang.  Kane yells out to Miller but Ben Miller, Frank's brother, turns around and is shot dead by the marshal.  Mrs. Kane, upon hearing the shot, runs from the train and hides in the sheriffs office back in town.  Kane heads to the stable and climbs to a loft to await more of the gang.  They show up and Jack Colby goes into the barn and shoots through the loft at Kane but misses.  The marshal shoots back and kills him.  Another outlaw throws a couple of lanterns into the barn and it suddenly catches on fire.  Kane unties all of the horses and lets them escape, however, he climbs on the back of one horse and escapes out the door with the rest of the horses.  As he rides his horse through the main street, the marshal gets winged by one of the desparados.  He falls off the horse and enters a building to ward off the other two killers.  The marshal peers through a window and he hears a shot and sees another outlaw, James Pierce, bite the dust.  He turns to see his wife, Amy, with a smoking gun in her hand.  With only Frank left now, he reloads his gun and hears a yell from Frank.  He looks out to see him holding his wife.  Frank tells Kane to come outside and face him like a man.  The marshal does as he is asked but with his gun pointed in a downward position.  At that moment, Amy turns and scratches Frank's face and breaks away just in time for the marshal to drill Miller, killing him instantly.

The townspeople, upon seeing Frank Miller face down in the street, leave their buildings and begin swarming around the marshal.  With one last act of disgust and without a word to the people who refused to help him, the marshal removes his tin star, drops it to the ground,  turns around,  climbs aboard the buckboard and with his wife head out of town to begin their newly married life together in a town far away from Hadleyville.

To view some high Noon and Gary Cooper photos, click on High Noon


1.  If you watch the movie closely in the scene in the church when the sheriff enters to ask for help, you will notice that the kids in the pews start disappearing and reappearing faster than a magician act. 

2.  In another scene in the sheriff's office, one of his deputies hangs up his deputy badge and leaves.  Notice that Will, the sheriff, doesn't have his badge on.  He puts his head down on the desk.  In the next scene, a boy comes in and when Will rises from the desk, WHALA, the badge is back on his vest.  So you didn't think this movie was that spooky, eh?  That's why the actor (in item #8) was hired, I think.

3.  Lee Van Cleef, who plays the part of desparado Jack Colby, doesn't say a word in the whole movie. 

4.  What was the name of the newspaper the clerk at the hotel was reading?

5.  What was the name of the livery stable Cooper and Bridges fought in?

6.  What was the name on the train and the number of the engine that arrived at noon?

7.  Who was the actor released from the cell prior the gunfight?

8.  Who was the actor who played the old sheriff?  A horror movie buff would know this answer.

9.  How many gunfighters did Will Kane kill?

Answers are posted on the Answer page.


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