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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is a film critic for The New York Post and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review. Find an alphabetical listing of The New York Post's recent film reviews here.

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  • « The Elegance of George Will | Home | AC-DC Joins Forces with Wal-Mart »

    “High Noon”: Liberal or Conservative?

    By Kyle | June 10, 2008

    High NoonThe 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.


    Topics: DVD, Movies, Philosophy, Politics |

    3 Responses to ““High Noon”: Liberal or Conservative?”

    1. jic Says:
      June 10th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

      I have to admit that I’ve never actually seen *High Noon*. I haven’t been deliberately avoiding it, and I’ve seen several of the variations/remakes (eg *Outland*), but I just haven’t got around to it yet. However, I am familiar with the mainstream interpretation of the movie’s meaning, and I found your approach refreshing.

      Just to save the trolls some time:

      ‘That’s the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever read from a so-called “writer”. I hope that Murdoch pays you well for being his lapdog.’

    2. joe Says:
      June 13th, 2008 at 11:54 am

      The only really disturbing part of the film, in my book, is the depiction of the townspeople as a sniveling and cringing bunch of weenies. That may be true for the commie pinko fag bedwetters in Hollyweird, but if a cop came to me or any of my neighbors, he’d get all the support he needs and a little more.

    3. Joseph Kastner Says:
      July 7th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

      High Noon is one of my most favorite films of all time - and I am a far-right conservative. It’s weird, I know. I enjoy Cooper’s performance, the cinematography (that zooming out-up shot as Cooper stands alone in the street is probably one of the best scenes in cinematic history in my opinion), the music - practically everything. The themes of duty and courage - that is probably what strikes a chord with conservatives. It does for me.