By Kyle | June 10, 2008
The left has always read “High Noon” as an anti-McCarthyism allegory. But in this essay, I wonder if that is merely because its screenwriter, Carl Foreman (father of my predecessor as New York Post film critic, Jonathan Foreman) was such a famous victim of the blacklist. The film’s anti-McCarthy subtext is pretty hard to tease out today. What really stands out, blazingly, is the overt denunciation of those who are soft on crime–whether it be national or international.
“High Noon” is being reissued on DVD today with a new documentary that features an interview with Bill Clinton on why he loves the film so much (he screened it more than 20 times). Included is a chat with the younger Foreman, who says the film absolutely was intended (in part) as an anti-McCarthy message film but also points out that the film’s genesis was very different: it was originally conceived as an allegory about the US going to the United Nations for help in rolling back Communism, but being forced to go it alone.