High Noon is a 1952 American Western movie produced by Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Carl Foreman, directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gary Cooper. The plot, depicted in real time, centers around a town marshal, who is torn between his sense of duty and love for his new bride, and who must face a gang of killers alone. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about High Noon.
1. Even though it was mired in controversy with political overtones at the time of its release, the movie was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, and won 4, as well as 4 Golden Globe Awards.
2. The award winning score was written by Russian born composer Dimitri Tiomkin.
3. High Noon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” in 1989.
4. Lee Van Cleef was originally hired to play Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell. However, Producer Stanley Kramer decided that his nose was too “hooked,” which made him look like a villain, and told him to get it fixed. Van Cleef refused, and Lloyd Bridges got the part. Van Cleef was given the smaller role of gunman Jack Colby, one of the Miller gang.
5. In 1951, after 25 years in show business, Gary Cooper’s professional reputation was in decline, and he was dropped from the Motion Picture Herald’s list of the top ten box-office performers. In the following year, he made a big comeback with High Noon.
6. Screenwriter Carl Foreman was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee shortly after the movie came out. In fact, he had fled to England by the time the movie was finished.
7. The movie was intended as an allegory for the failure of the Hollywood community to stand up to the House Un-American Activities Committee during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Communist hunt.
8. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly had an affair that lasted for the duration of filming.
9. Marshal Will Kane was originally named Will Doane. The name was changed to Will Kane because Katy Jurado had difficulty pronouncing the name Will Doane.
10. High Noon was the film debut of Lee Van Cleef, who doesn’t have any dialogue.
11. The movie is often described as, “a western for people who don’t like westerns.”
12. Director Fred Zinnemann said that the black smoke billowing from the train is a sign that the brakes were failing. He and the cameraman didn’t know it at the time, and barely got out of the way. The camera tripod snagged itself on the track and fell over, smashing the camera, but the film survives and is in the movie.
13. There was some question as to the casting of Gary Cooper, since he was 50 and Grace Kelly, playing his wife, was only 21, despite this being fairly commonplace for the timeframe of the movie.
14. Gregory Peck, an activist liberal Democrat who strongly opposed blacklisting, later said that turning down the role in High Noon was the biggest regret of his career, although he modestly added that he didn’t think he could have played the lead character as well as Gary Cooper did.
15. Director Fred Zinnemann’s meticulous planning enabled him to make 400 shots in only 4 weeks.
16. Henry Fonda missed out on the movie because he had been “graylisted” in the industry due to his political beliefs.
17. Gary Cooper had a bleeding ulcer at the time of filming.
18. Gary Cooper was responsible for getting the soon to be greylisted actor Lloyd Bridges the role of Harvey Pell.
19. “Do Not forsake Me, Oh, My Darlin’,” was the first Oscar winning song from a non-musical movie.
20. Grace Kelly was cast after Producer Stanley Kramer saw her in an off-Broadway play. He arranged a meeting with her and signed her on the spot.
21. As Carl Foreman’s script bore certain similarities to John W. Cunningham’s story “The Tin Star,” Producer Stanley Kramer bought the rights to Cunningham’s novel to protect the production against accusations of plagiarism.
22. A comic relief scene involving town drunk Jack Elam, and an entire subplot with James Brown playing another Marshal, didn’t make it into the final cut of High Noon.
23. Little to no make up was used on Gary Cooper’s face. The thinking was that the lines on his face would emphasize how worried his character was.
24. Though he was supposed to be the older man, at 45, Lon Chaney Jr. was 5 years younger than Gary Cooper.
25. Gary Cooper didn’t use a stunt double in the fight with Lloyd Bridges.
26. Stanley Kramer removed Carl Foreman’s credit as a producer. They never spoke to each other again.
27. Fred Zinnemann wanted a hot, stark look to the movie. Cinematographer Floyd Crosby achieved this by not filtering the sky and having the prints made a few points lighter than normal.
28. Since Gary Cooper was 50, 38 year old Lloyd Bridges was cast as 20 something Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell.
29. High Noon is Bill Clinton’s all time favorite movie. He watched it 17 times during his two terms as President of the United States.
30. The number of close-ups Fred Zinnemann gave Grace Kelly reportedly infuriated Katy Jurado, prompting her to accuse Zinnemann of being “half in love” with Kelly.