Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|High Noon |
Two-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition
Actors: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Written by Carl Foreman (who was later blacklisted during the anticommunist hearings of the '50s) and superbly directed by Fred Zinnemann, this 1952 classic stars Gary Cooper as just-married lawman Will Kane, who is about ... more »
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Cosmoetica | New York, USA | 08/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Critically, as the film was innovative in its structure (avoiding most real Western `action' until the end of the film), and avoided a number of stereotypes popularized by higher profile filmmakers like John Ford and Howard Hawks, and Western icon John Wayne, derided it as un-American, as well as worse things. That is has become so lauded, even as it was a low budget project, with almost no great nor spectacular battle scenes, is another reason so many of the classic Western film lovers have railed at it. Cinematographer Floyd Crosby does a good, if not spectacular, job. There is one infamous goof that he and film editors committed, and that is in a crane shot, late in the film, where the camera pulls back and up to reveal the town deserted and Kane alone. Unfortunately, in the upper left hand corner of the film, telephone poles and wires are clearly visible. Crosby's mot notable touch was in not fetishizing the Western tableaux, instead not filtering the light reflected from the surroundings, which led to a blanched, dessicated look to the black and white cinematography; along the lines of then contemporary documentary films.
The DVD, put out by Lionsgate, comes with two disks. Disk one is in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the transfer is spotless. The remastering of the film is superb. It scintillates with clarity. It also includes an audio commentary by the progeny of many of the people involved- the late actor, John Ritter, Carl Foreman's son, Jonathan, Fred Zinneman's son, Tim, and Gary Cooper's daughter, Maria Cooper-Janis. As in most commentaries featuring non-experts, this one quickly descends into meaningless banter and anecdotes, and many, `Gee, whiz, wasn't dad great' moments. The only comment of any worth comes when it's mentioned that, before he kills the first of the desperadoes, Kane calls out Miller's name, and shorts the man, therefore not plugging him in the back. The comment states this displays Kane's personal code of ethics, and while this is true, it is also one of the weaker moments in the film, because it goes against many of the other realistic moments (as does the plethora of 1950s-speak: Gollys and Gee whizzes abound)- a fact unmentioned in the commentary. But, good observations as this are rare on the track. Given the film's stature as a Western classic, one would have hoped for at least one expert commentary, by a noted historian of cinema. The second disk features a 50 minute making of film, Inside High Noon, and a shorter making of featurette. There is a featurette on singer Tex Ritter; a clip of Ritter singing the Oscar winning song Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin' on the Jimmy Dean tv show, a featurette called Behind High Noon, and a radio broadcast featuring Ritter. All of these features are useful, but none is really standout, nor top of the line, compared to the best DVD features. The real killer, as mentioned, is no expert commentary track.
High Noon is certainly a classic, and with a few better decisions scriptwise and characterwise, and with a few better decisions technically, it would truly have been a great film. Greatness and classicality, however, are unrelated beasts. This film is classic melodrama stripped to its naked rot, and plays out almost like an episode of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. Its narrative bears down upon the viewer like the train that carries Frank Miller. It has moments of poignancy (see the looks between Kane and Helen), black humor (see when the hotel clerk asks Kane if he can find Helen's room when the marshal ascends the stairs), and mythos (scan the characters' names and personal traits for counterparts in assorted mythologies); as well as an ability to amplify these characteristics (note how every shot of the clocks, which visually builds tension, is accompanied by a slightly strumming sound). Technically, the film is top notch, but its fundamentals sag a bit. If only the bulk of films today could display such vices and virtues, what a wonderfully mortal art the masses could wallow in."