For more than fifty years, High Noon has been a touchstone in the popular imagination and a source of endless controversy about film art. On its release it was hailed as a masterpiece. But film historians and theorists have also reviled it almost from the beginning as pretentious "social realism" inspired by its screenwriter's victimization by the red-hunting House Committee on Un-American Activities. Showdown at High Noon is the study of a film caught between popular admiration and critical disdain. In order to understand how and why High Noon has elicited such disparate reactions, author Jeremy Byman explores all of its elements, from its origins in the mind of blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman to its long-lasting impact on culture, American and otherwise. High Noon not only affected the westerns that followed it, but also changed filmmaking in fundamental ways. By analyzing its political, cultural, and thematic implications, Byman reveals how this one film has had such a profound and enduring influence, a long lasting impact that cannot be so easily dismissed. Includes 8 pages of photos.
Jeremy Byman holds a Ph.D. in political science and M.A. in cinema studies, and has taught political science and film courses at several colleges and universities. He was the film reviewer for an arts and entertainment weekly for 19 years. This is his seventh book.
Part 1 Preface Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Part I: The World of High Noon Chapter 4 1. Showdown Chapter 5 2. High Noon Enters Popular Legend Chapter 6 3. Independent Production and the Rise of Stanley Kramer Chapter 7 4. The Red Scare and the Blacklist Part 8 Part II: Communism and Conformity Chapter 9 5. Writing High Noon, Facing the Blacklist Chapter 10 6. The Failed Community Part 11 Part III: Westerns and Anti-Westerns Chapter 12 7. Formula and Subversion Chapter 13 8. High Noon and the End of the Western Part 14 Part IV: Auteurs, Critics, and Collaborative Filmmaking Chapter 15 9. Auteurs and Westerns Chapter 16 10. The Making of High Noon Part 17 Part V: The Film As Film Chapter 18 11. A Citizen Named Kane Chapter 19 12. Noir at High Noon Part 20 Bibliography Part 21 Index Part 22 About the Author