Rewind, film: 'High Noon' directed by Fred Zinneman
In our fast-paced world connected by planes, trains and the internet, it seems nobody has the patience to wait any more.
Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges
The western genre has often excelled at capturing the grit, violence and lawless nature of that era, but possibly the only film to truly portray its sense of endless waiting is .
On the day of his wedding, Sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper) hangs up his badge. Then news arrives that Frank Miller, a killer Kane put away years ago, has been pardoned and is on his way back for revenge. With just an hour until Miller's train arrives, Kane desperately tries to round up deputies but no one is willing to help, and the sheriff, unwilling to abandon the town, waits alone for the killer.
Often regarded as a classic by modern film scholars, faced a backlash from critics when it was first released, not only for its refusal to fit into the chase-and-shoot-out formula, but also for its blatantly conservative themes.
Viewed as both an embrace of post-war rugged individualism and an allegory for communist blacklisting, the American public was divided and the film became the centre point in Hollywood's changing of the guard.
Television was just about to arrive and the cold war had begun. And in between, ideas such as civil rights, gender politics and the hippie rebellion were brewing.
was the waiting room between the Hollywood studio system with its traditional values and the new breed of liberal filmmakers who would change the world of movie-making in the 1960s and '70s. Seen in this light, there's much merit in the film.
Seen in any other, however, and reveals itself as being from a long-gone era, as dated as the strong, silent characters Cooper embodied. Re-watching the film for this review, we were struck by how badly the film had aged. The story is too simplistic ("man waits for other man"), and its corny dialogue and episodic style don't help either.
Cooper seemed constantly pained (he was supposedly suffering from piles), while the supporting stars' characters were undefined. But more than anything, the direction was uninspired.
Its many fans might proclaim a taut, trim 85 minutes set in real time, but possibly the initial reviews were right: waiting is boring, even for that short a period.