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.
Argues that High Noon was seminal in anticipating the "new," darker Western, and that the film's realist aesthetic was particularly undervalued by auteur critics...fundamentally evaluative...--CHOICE