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slaytonf

The flaw in High Noon (1952).

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I know, I know, people'll say, "Which one?"  For is any movie more riddled with egregiousness, and outrages?  Contrivance is the stockintrade of Hollywood, but this one is uniquely burdened.  There is the improbable broadcasting by the baddie of his plans for vengeance (on the witness stand, no less!).  And the equally improbable lack of any cognizance taken of it.  And the greater improbability of a lawman appealing to amateurs to assist him in an enforcement action (notably riffed on by Howard Hawks).  And the most howling improbability of all, a Quaker so completely abandoning the tenor of her life that she commits the most violent act possible in killing a human being.

Oh, but what rankles, what is just the most intolerable thorn, what just goads me to continually shout at the screen is the inexplicable fear Will Kane has of Frank Miller.  He handled him before, what's different now?  Has Miller turned into some sort of super villain, with extraordinary powers?  I think not, so what's the big deal?  Frank Miller's back?  You handled him before, so just do the same thing.  Problem solved.

There is another enormity of the movie so great that it prompts me to make an extraordinary extra note.  The character of Helen Ramirez--played so wonderfully by Katy Juarado, in my mind drawn as the most estimable character in this whole mess, a woman who, even if you had only her good regard, let alone love, as Kane did (and still does!), you would walk over broken glass for without hesitation--this woman, I say, is so violated by the screen writers as to be forced to hook up with the contemptible weasel Pell (! and !!).  This snake is someone a woman like her would not even turn her gaze toward.  Man, that was some gigantic rebound.  What an idiot Kane is, and this comes through even the wretched writing, to have abandoned Helen in favor of that pathetic milk-toast of an Amy Fowler.  He has traded a life wealthy in humanity and passion for a pallid existence of conventionality and unremarkability.

Did I mention how terrific Katy Jurado was?  Well, she was.

High Noon Thursday, March 8, 5:00 P. M., Pacific Time.

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♪♪ Do not forsake Coop, oh dear slayton

For this is just this movie's theme

Do not forsake Coop, oh dear slayton

Wait, wait along

I do not know why you're so hard on

Poor Grace, she does the best she can

Although yes Katy's the strong one

For Coop will show he's, yes he will show he's

Coop will show he's still good with a gun ♪♪

 

(...okay sure...think YOU can do a better Tex Ritter impression do ya?...then be my guest!)

;)

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, slaytonf said:

Oh, but what rankles, what is just the most intolerable thorn, what just goads me to continually shout at the screen is the inexplicable fear Will Kane has of Frank Miller.  He handled him before, what's different now?  Has Miller turned into some sort of super villain, with extraordinary powers?  I think not, so what's the big deal?  Frank Miller's back?  You handled him before, so just do the same thing.  Problem solved.

 

Frank had friends with him. You don't think that's cause for just a few self doubts?

millersgang_highnoon.jpg

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Friends indeed.  When you consider two of those friends are LEE VAN CLEEF and ROBERT WILKIE, there's plenty to worry about! ;)

To me, one of the biggest flaws in this and many other westerns is the "friends" factor.  Guys willing to put their lives on the line( and often losing) for ONE GUY in order that he might get his revenge on our hero( whomever he may be). With no real serious compensation for their devotion being made clear. I don't have ANY friends that good, nor have I ever been that good of a friend.  I mean, I didn't mind getting BEAT UP in aiding a friend, but DYING for one over something that wasn't any of my business to begin with is a line I'll probably never cross.

Sepiatone 

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A valid point, SlaytonF!

maybe this makes the film so fascinating, because instead of being a super-cool buff boy-cowboy,

Gary Cooper is something quite different!

Can we blame the pacifism of the Quaker religion?

Anyway, this isn't a cliche WESTERN. This is a look at reality. And the violence that people have to face daily.

And they have to carry that fear, and live with it.

thanks for your thread!

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10 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Friends indeed.  When you consider two of those friends are LEE VAN CLEEF and ROBERT WILKIE, there's plenty to worry about! ;)

To me, one of the biggest flaws in this and many other westerns is the "friends" factor.  Guys willing to put their lives on the line( and often losing) for ONE GUY in order that he might get his revenge on our hero( whomever he may be). With no real serious compensation for their devotion being made clear. I don't have ANY friends that good, nor have I ever been that good of a friend.  I mean, I didn't mind getting BEAT UP in aiding a friend, but DYING for one over something that wasn't any of my business to begin with is a line I'll probably never cross.

Sepiatone 

Good one Sepia!     The honor among thieves line is mostly BS.   I mean it isn't like these 'friends' are boy scouts!

 

 

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7 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Friends indeed.  When you consider two of those friends are LEE VAN CLEEF and ROBERT WILKIE, there's plenty to worry about! ;)

To me, one of the biggest flaws in this and many other westerns is the "friends" factor.  Guys willing to put their lives on the line( and often losing) for ONE GUY in order that he might get his revenge on our hero( whomever he may be). With no real serious compensation for their devotion being made clear. I don't have ANY friends that good, nor have I ever been that good of a friend.  I mean, I didn't mind getting BEAT UP in aiding a friend, but DYING for one over something that wasn't any of my business to begin with is a line I'll probably never cross.

Sepiatone 

Well then it must have been a revelation for you with Miller's three friends in High Noon since they really all do die for him (or because they hate Will Kane, it all boiling down to the same thing).

Whether this would happen in real life it depends. If we're talking about gang violence I can envision it. And Miller and his three friends would qualify as a western version of same.

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15 hours ago, TomJH said:

Frank had friends with him. You don't think that's cause for just a few self doubts?

 

Like he couldn't have faced that before?  Seems he wasn't so much of a lawman.

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4 hours ago, TomJH said:

Well then it must have been a revelation for you with Miller's three friends in High Noon since they really all do die for him (or because they hate Will Kane, it all boiling down to the same thing).

Whether this would happen in real life it depends. If we're talking about gang violence I can envision it. And Miller and his three friends would qualify as a western version of same.

To me you're missing the point.   This part of the plot (his 'friends' wanting to assist him,  without a reason or any compensation),  is way too unrealistic.   (I say 'way too' because all films are unrealistic to some degree).

Note that in many other films at least some reason is given;  e.g. they are helping the head dude because they are planning on robbing a bank together and they need the head dude to pull off the job.

But High Noon is only about revenge.    For those that live a life of crime, there isn't any reason to assist a fellow hood in his quest for revenge.     

Anyhow, this very minor 'flaw' doesn't make the film any less enjoyable. 

 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

To me you're missing the point.   This part of the plot (his 'friends' wanting to assist him,  without a reason or any compensation),  is way too unrealistic.   (I say 'way too' because all films are unrealistic to some degree).

Note that in many other films at least some reason is given;  e.g. they are helping the head dude because they are planning on robbing a bank together and they need the head dude to pull off the job.

But High Noon is only about revenge.    For those that live a life of crime, there isn't any reason to assist a fellow hood in his quest for revenge.     

Anyhow, this very minor 'flaw' doesn't make the film any less enjoyable. 

 

High Noon isn't about Frank Miller and what motivates his friends to help him. It is about Will Kane and whether or not his integrity and courage will abandon him when a frightened town does.

Nor do I think it unrealistic that three friends might help Miller since we don't know their motives anyway. Besides, if memory serves me correctly these rowdies are anticipating have the town to themselves to do with it what they want once the marshall is dead. For some low lifes out for booze and women that's motive enough.

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2 hours ago, slaytonf said:

Like he couldn't have faced that before?  Seems he wasn't so much of a lawman.

We don't know what Kane has faced before, and, besides, High Noon is about a lawman with human frailties, which includes fear. He's not a John Wayne-Clint Eastwood superman in this film.

But at the end his courage holds and his performance is inspirational even if the town proves that it isn't worthy of the effort.

I don't know why you say he wasn't so much of a lawman. His performance against those bad guys didn't please you in the end? Hell, he did it all (with some help from his bride) inspite of his fears.

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14 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Friends indeed.  When you consider two of those friends are LEE VAN CLEEF and ROBERT WILKIE, there's plenty to worry about! ;)

To me, one of the biggest flaws in this and many other westerns is the "friends" factor.  Guys willing to put their lives on the line( and often losing) for ONE GUY in order that he might get his revenge on our hero( whomever he may be). With no real serious compensation for their devotion being made clear. I don't have ANY friends that good, nor have I ever been that good of a friend.  I mean, I didn't mind getting BEAT UP in aiding a friend, but DYING for one over something that wasn't any of my business to begin with is a line I'll probably never cross.

Sepiatone 

Anyone who has ever been in a combat situation for this (or probably any other) country can tell you first hand about that sort-of "friendship" or rather something that goes beyond friendship. Or about being placed in such a precarious situation by "someone" where you had to lay it on the line for each other, even if you weren't "friends" in the first place... Not a western, but real life... 

Yes, Will Kane faced these guys before and put at least one of them in prison. But he wasn't alone then, he had an equally tough gang of lawmen with him to do that job.
He tries to round up the same bunch of guys again, but too many aren't willing to play a second time. Certainly not for the sake of Will Kane, and not when wishful thinking rationalizes that if he were gone then the "trouble" will depart with him.
He vacillates, considers riding off, but then changes his mind.
Kane is a man of honor. He has never been a coward before, and he doesn't like the sour taste it leaves in his mouth.
He anticipates that he won't survive, he writes a last will and testament.
His Quaker wife wasn't always a Quaker. She became one as a reaction to violence that occurred in her family (to her father or brother I think). So when she finally makes a choice to "stand by her man" it isn't like she's going against a faith that she was raised up with.
And this film at that time was more than just a western. It was an allegory for what was occurring with the HUAC.
Cooper likely didn't see it as such, as he was just playing a part in a film. But Zinnemann, Kramer and Foreman certainly knew what the movie was really about.

To the OP and others
Try to suspend your disbelief and stop trying to challenge "loose ends" in a picture that almost runs real time in that short 85 minutes. As a western it is a good'n, and if you choose to get more out of it than that, terrific! 

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30 minutes ago, TomJH said:

We don't know what Kane has faced before, and, besides, High Noon is about a lawman with human frailties, which includes fear. He's not a John Wayne-Clint Eastwood superman in this film.

But at the end his courage holds and his performance is inspirational even if the town proves that it isn't worthy of the effort.

I don't know why you say he wasn't so much of a lawman. His performance against those bad guys didn't please you in the end? Hell, he did it all (with some help from his bride) inspite of his fears.

If he were a competent lawman, a circumstance like the one in the movie would not have caused him existential fear, and made him take the unprofessional actions he did.  He would have known what to do, and if he knew he could not cope by himself, would have known where to go for the resources he needed.  As I said before, I don't see the motivation for the plot.  If it was truly a circumstance where he was at risk, and needed to overcome his fears against great peril, then he had no business being a lawman in the first place.  His actions do not amount to courage in the face of mortal danger, but irresponsible recklessness.

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24 minutes ago, Stephan55 said:


Yes, Will Kane faced these guys before and put at least one of them in prison. But he wasn't alone then, he had an equally tough gang of lawmen with him to do that job.
He tries to round up the same bunch of guys again, but too many aren't willing to play a second time. Certainly not for the sake of Will Kane, and not when wishful thinking rationalizes that if he were gone then the "trouble" will depart with him.
He vacillates, considers riding off, but then changes his mind.
Kane is a man of honor. He has never been a coward before, and he doesn't like the sour taste it leaves in his mouth.
He anticipates that he won't survive, he writes a last will and testament.
His Quaker wife wasn't always a Quaker. She became one as a reaction to violence that occurred in her family (to her father or brother I think). So when she finally makes a choice to "stand by her man" it isn't like she's going against a faith that she was raised up with.
And this film at that time was more than just a western. It was an allegory for what was occurring with the HUAC.
Cooper likely didn't see it as such, as he was just playing a part in a film. But Zinnemann, Kramer and Foreman certainly knew what the movie was really about.
Try to suspend your disbelief and stop trying to challenge "loose ends" in a picture that almost runs real time in that short 85 minutes. As a western it is a good'n, and if you choose to get more out of it than that, terrific! 

I suppose I'll have to watch the movie again, because I don't recall the details you cite.  

As for Amy's retrograde actions, one need not have been raised in a tradition to have powerful allegiance to it.  The reverse is also true.  The fact remains she commits the act which about the most damaging a Quaker can do, whatever the justification.

The movie's being an allegory for the political witch hunting by Congress going on is commonly known.  I don't think it's a good one.  On the surface it tells the tale of standing up to tyranny--to read demagoguery, but it really sends all the wrong messages.

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1 hour ago, Stephan55 said:


...And this film at that time was more than just a western. It was an allegory for what was occurring with the HUAC.
Cooper likely didn't see it as such, as he was just playing a part in a film. But Zinnemann, Kramer and Foreman certainly knew what the movie was really about.

 

Actually Stephan, while it has pretty much been on the record that both producer Kramer and screenwriter Foreman thought of this film as such, director Zimmemann always denied such an assertion and claimed he never viewed his film as any sort of political statement.

(...of course there is the possibility that he stated and stuck to this opinion only because he feared running afoul of reactionary forces in the country at the time and so perhaps wished to stay out of the fray, but I doubt anyone will ever know this for a fact)

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1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

I suppose I'll have to watch the movie again, because I don't recall the details you cite.  

As for Amy's retrograde actions, one need not have been raised in a tradition to have powerful allegiance to it.  The reverse is also true.  The fact remains she commits the act which about the most damaging a Quaker can do, whatever the justification.

The movie's being an allegory for the political witch hunting by Congress going on is commonly known.  I don't think it's a good one.  On the surface it tells the tale of standing up to tyranny--to read demagoguery, but it really sends all the wrong messages.

Yes, please watch it again. There are a few lines as I recall that fill-in for the lack of time devoted to each of these characters in such a short film. Centered primarily on one man and sorta asking the audience at the same time... What would you do if you were Will Kane... stay and fight, or run away?

You are correct about tradition, length (or lack of length) of time and allegiance to a belief. But what I got from Amy's characterization was that Quakerism was an escape from the reality of violence for her. She was running away from something that she hated and feared, not running to something that she truly believed in, not really. As when push came to shove, she made a decision to act against her pledged faith.

You mentioned that Helen Ramírez' character was flawed because she hooked up with Harvey Pell on the seeming rebound from Kane. But Helen was a hot blooded and lustful woman. She tells Harvey that he is a "good looking kid" and that he should "grow up." To me it was plain that Harvey was just a boy toy for her. A natural physical outlet with no real love there, certainly not like she harbored for Kane.
We are left wondering what sort of tension in that small town could have induced Kane to abandon his relationship with Helen for such a "milk toast" as Amy. But this was the not so distant west. Helen was a Mexican in a white town. That alone can say a lot. Will was a flawed man (as all men are). Perhaps he saw Amy as a more "respectable" woman... who knows, after all it was Grace Kelly and she was quite beautiful to look at, perhaps his love for her was shallower than we might like to think.  Anyway, there is a back story to Kane, Helen and Amy that we are left to speculate upon. But that is not the meat of the picture.

As far as Frank Miller shouting vengeance in the courtroom, being sentenced, serving his time and then released... What is so far fetched about that. I've seen that myself in real life.

As far as a lawman appealing to amateurs for help. These were tried under fire former deputies. It was the old west, it was a small town. One full time Marshall & Deputy Marshal was generally enough for most times. When you needed more men you called on the toughest men in town and deputized them. That was the way it was. 
And even if Will wanted to have more "professional" men with him, it was very clear at the onset and throughout the picture... there simply wasn't enough time.

So one man against four tough gunmen, hell yes there was fear there. Look at the odds against him.

You don't think it's a good allegory for what was going on at the time with HUAC? Thats fine. We can agree to disagree about anything.
This film was a superficial western for those who saw no deeper. For others it asked numerous questions about ourselves and our society. Based on the premise of your thread it is apparent that you have not obtained any inner resolution about many of them.
As for myself, I was challenged. Would I have the guts, honour, or foolishness to stay and fight alone?
Or would I run, to be hunted and possibly gunned down alone or with my wife out on the prairie.
Will said they would be alone out there, here there were at least people. That at the time he still believed would be willing to help him.
But they do not. One by one they turn away. Abandoned (forsaken) by his "friends," the town he served, and even his wife... Will Kane was a man alone. Too late to run, and not likely to win this fight. But at the end it is simply a matter of survival. And when he amazingly comes out on top. The shallowness of those around him and his faith in his fellow man is shaken, perhaps forever.
There could be a sequel to this, as well as a prequel to flesh it out for us. To help us find the answer to those loose ends. But there is neither.
We are left wondering, each to ourselves, how the messages of this movie applies to us and our own personal circumstance. To those blacklisted it told their story. To every lawman, every person of faith, it asked a personal question. To every politician, every soldier, every person asked to lay it on the line for someone or something else, it asked a question... Many of those asked, that even realized that a question was posed to them, never found the answer that they sought.

Yes, please watch it again... carefully. Then we can continue this conversation further if you want.

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On 3/7/2018 at 11:17 PM, Dargo said:

Actually Stephan, while it has pretty much been on the record that both producers, Kramer and Foreman, thought this film as such, Zimmemann always denied such an assertion and claimed he never viewed his film as any sort of political statement.

(...of course there is the possibility that he stated and stuck to this opinion only because he feared running afoul of reactionary forces in the country at the time, and so perhaps wished to stay out of the fray...but I doubt anyone will ever know this for a fact)

 Carl Foreman co-produced and wrote the adapted screenplay. He refused to name names, was blacklisted and fled the country. He knew what he was writing about and how it could be interpreted as a metaphor for the current times.
Stanley Kramer (the producer) was no dummy. He and Foreman had a long working relationship on other controversial films before this. He and Foreman virally disagreed about the film and Foreman's continued relationship with it at the time. Kramer knew what Foreman was really writing about.
And Fred Zinnemann (the director), an Austrian Jew who was shrewd enough to leave Germany for the states before the Reich made it impossible for persons such as himself to do so. Was no slouch either.
Zinnemann was a very intelligent man, and a survivor. He knew what to say and to whom. But there is no way in hell that he didn't see what was coming and that High Noon spoke different things to different people. 
And Gary Cooper (the star and hero), was in a career slump and far from the top of the list when he was offered the role in High Noon. I saw that "Aw shucks" video of Cooper as he tried to charm the committee as a "friendly witness." That movie put Coop back on top, but for me, when I was finally old enough to better understand, it bottomed him out as one of my former childhood heroes and "father" figures growing up. 
Cooper was like one of those townspeople in the movie, turning his back when the "bad" guys came to town.

All these guys are dead now, and getting to the actual truth can be difficult. But better knowing the backstory and later history about each of these guys as well as the calamity of that period, allows a pretty good idea into their likely mindset of that time.

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8 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Anyone who has ever been in a combat situation for this (or probably any other) country can tell you first hand about that sort-of "friendship" or rather something that goes beyond friendship. Or about being placed in such a precarious situation by "someone" where you had to lay it on the line for each other, even if you weren't "friends" in the first place... Not a western, but real life... 
 

That's the kind of dweebish PC crap I'd expect to read on FaceBook, but not in the middle of a discussion about a movie and a situation that's TOTALLY unrelated to the one under discussion. 

I WASN'T referring to a "combat situation", since Miller and HIS cronies WEREN'T under attack by Coop and a group of "helpers" (which of course, he really didn't have) or "Injuns". It's just that Miller came to town seeking revenge on Marshal Coop with the supposed aid of three guys who really had no issue with Coop as they weren't the ones sent up.  I never sensed in the times I've seen the movie, that those guys were also "seeking revenge" on Coop, but just along for the ride.  That they were long members of Miller's "gang" and expected by Miller to go along with any and everything he wished.  

Sepiatone

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15 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Good one Sepia!     The honor among thieves line is mostly BS.   I mean it isn't like these 'friends' are boy scouts!

 

 

I've spent nine years living in Southwest Detroit, where gang violence was believed to be at a higher than usual level.  And I've known  a few "gang-bangers" among my nephew's friends and can attest to a firm line drawn at that sort of devotion.  All "attacks" on other gangs and gang members are typically ambushes, and those "gangsta's" under "attack" are fighting for their OWN lives, with little regard or consideration for the guy next to them.  Most of those "tough guys" would use their BABY SISTERS as shields if it meant THEY don't die.  Those "face-to-face rumbles" in movies like WEST SIDE STORY and other old flicks are (if they ever were) a long-gone thing of the past. 

Sepiatone

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8 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

 
And Gary Cooper (the star and hero), was in a career slump and far from the top of the list when he was offered the role in High Noon. I saw that "Aw shucks" video of Cooper as he tried to charm the committee as a "friendly witness." That movie put Coop back on top, but for me, when I was finally old enough to better understand, it bottomed him out as one of my former childhood heroes and "father" figures growing up. 
Cooper was was like one of those townspeople in the movie, turning his back when the "bad" guys came to town.
 

I think you're being unfair Cooper, Stephen, but perhaps you don't know all the facts.

That "Aw shucks" video of Cooper before HUAC was in 1947. He charmed the politicos that day and, you might also notice, got away without giving any names of people he may have thought may have been Communist working in Hollywood. He made vague, naive sounding statements like Communism "wasn't on the level."

By 1951, though, HUAC was stronger than ever, and since his appearance before the committee four years before the actor had seen how they were intimidating and ruining careers in Hollywood.

The following is from Jeffrey Meyers' Gary Cooper American Hero:

Foreman wrote that in 1951, the most difficult time to support an accused and then blacklisted writer, Cooper "put his whole career on the block in the face of the McCarthyite witch hunters who were terrorizing Hollywood." After Foreman was subpoenaed in April, "Cooper was immediately subjected to a violent underground pressure campaign aimed at getting him to leave the film, and he was told that unless he agreed to do so he, too, would be blacklisted in Hollywood for the rest of his life. But Cooper believed in me. He saw it through."

After Foreman had testified in September and been abandoned by (Stanley) Kramer, Cooper called Foreman at home and asked him how he could help. When Foreman said he was going to form his own production company, Cooper replied, "Count me in -  now. Use my name. I mean it." And he publicly announced, "I like and admire Carl Foreman and am delighted to be in business with him." Cooper was then so popular that even Hedda Hopper couldn't crucify him.

But Louis Mayer and Walter Wanger warned Cooper than he might never get another decent role if he didn't back off. Foreman later explained that their partnership was also "prevented by the pressure of the Hollywood blacklist. Cooper came under severe attack from John Wayne and Ward Bond, as well as others in the so-called Motion Picture Alliance For the Preservation of American Ideals, as well as Warner Brothers and various right wing publications, and I released him from his commitment in order to avoid damage to his career." Realizing that they could never establish a business in this hostile climate, Foreman told Cooper, "Nobody can hold up against this . . . not even you."

Though Cooper was finally forced to admit defeat, the grateful Foreman declared, "He was the only big one who tried. The only one."

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

That's the kind of dweebish PC crap I'd expect to read on FaceBook, but not in the middle of a discussion about a movie and a situation that's TOTALLY unrelated to the one under discussion

I WASN'T referring to a "combat situation", since Miller and HIS cronies WEREN'T under attack by Coop and a group of "helpers" (which of course, he really didn't have) or "Injuns". It's just that Miller came to town seeking revenge on Marshal Coop with the supposed aid of three guys who really had no issue with Coop as they weren't the ones sent up.  I never sensed in the times I've seen the movie, that those guys were also "seeking revenge" on Coop, but just along for the ride.  That they were long members of Miller's "gang" and expected by Miller to go along with any and everything he wished.  

Sepiatone

Whoa, slow down my friend. I thought perhaps you knew me better than that. Sorry if I was wrong.
Of course I was deliberately taking you out of context. I simply used (bolded) your words to elevate something that I was feeling and thinking as I read them, yes totally unrelated to your point in this discusion.
 

11 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Guys willing to put their lives on the line( and often losing) for ONE GUY ... With no real serious compensation for their devotion being made clear. ... don't have ANY friends that good, nor have I ever been that good of a friend.  .... DYING for one over something that wasn't any of my business to begin with is a line ...

I just drifted for a moment and began thinking about Vets... My mind does that sometimes.
I know that it doesn't appear obvious (since I quoted you in that post) that the "meat" of it was directed toward Slaytonf's OP.
I see now how inappropriate and easily misconstrued doing that can be.

To be absolutely clear, I agree with everything you said In Context with the Movie About the Frank Miller gang!

Hope I soothed your feathers a tad. I really didn't intend to ruffle them at all.
My sincere apologies.

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I still don't know why some think it implausible that Miller would have three friends (or cohorts) come after Marshal Kane with him.

As I stated earlier, there were fears in the town that they would pillage the town after the law was dead. That's why many are clearing out of town.

Remember the scene in which Miller and one of his gang are walking down the street and the gang member stops, runs back to a store, smashes a window and takes something (I think it was a woman's hat).

Miller's verbal response to this action ("Can't you wait?") clearly shows what these guys would be up to once Kane was gone. That's motive for their participation. I don't see any big mystery here as to why they showed up in town with the vengeful Miller.

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

I think you're being unfair Cooper, Stephen, but perhaps you don't know all the facts.

That "Aw shucks" video of Cooper before HUAC was in 1947. He charmed the politicos that day and, you might also notice, got away without giving any names of people he may have thought may have been Communist working in Hollywood. He made vague, naive sounding statements like Communism "wasn't on the level."

By 1951, though, HUAC was stronger than ever, and since his appearance before the committee four years before the actor had seen how they were intimidating and ruining careers in Hollywood.

The following is from Jeffrey Meyers' Gary Cooper American Hero:

Foreman wrote that in 1951, the most difficult time to support an accused and then blacklisted writer, Cooper "put his whole career on the block in the face of the McCarthyite witch hunters who were terrorizing Hollywood." After Foreman was subpoenaed in April, "Cooper was immediately subjected to a violent underground pressure campaign aimed at getting him to leave the film, and he was told that unless he agreed to do so he, too, would be blacklisted in Hollywood for the rest of his life. But Cooper believed in me. He saw it through."

After Foreman had testified in September and been abandoned by (Stanley) Kramer, Cooper called Foreman at home and asked him how he could help. When Foreman said he was going to form his own production company, Cooper replied, "Count me in -  now. Use my name. I mean it." And he publicly announced, "I like and admire Carl Foreman and am delighted to be in business with him." Cooper was then so popular that even Hedda Hopper couldn't crucify him.

But Louis Mayer and Walter Wanger warned Cooper than he might never get another decent role if he didn't back off. Foreman later explained that their partnership was also "prevented by the pressure of the Hollywood blacklist. Cooper came under severe attack from John Wayne and Ward Bond, as well as others in the so-called Motion Picture Alliance For the Preservation of American Ideals, as well as Warner Brothers and various right wing publications, and I released him from his commitment in order to avoid damage to his career." Realizing that they could never establish a business in this hostile climate, Foreman told Cooper, "Nobody can hold up against this . . . not even you."

Though Cooper was finally forced to admit defeat, the grateful Foreman declared, "He was the only big one who tried. The only one."

Thank you for sharing that Tom. I needed to hear that about Coop.
I never read Meyers' book.
If Carl Foreman, who I do recognize as more of a "real life" hero, said those words about Cooper, then he was a far bigger man in real life than I had since been giving him credit.
Gary Cooper was one of my heroes growing up. I adored the man and in my childish way believed that he and his screen image were one. So when I later (after Vietnam) actually began to understand more about the whole commie witch hunt era that I grew up under, I began to draw a line in the sand between which were the "real" heroes and which ones were fake. It was a rude awakening for me. Wayne, and many others who I grew up idolizing fell by the wayside. I had placed these men on a pedestal and the reality that they were NOT the men that I had built them up to be, models of "true" manhood that I'd attempted to follow and emulate, hurt me personally.
I never knew my own father, and these men had been my father figures.
It was akin to the emotional turmoil I went through in my childish naivete when I first realized that "adults" did not always speak truth, and I had been lied to many, many times... Losing them, one by one, was like losing a part of myself.
I have since softened and become less judgemental toward them and me. But I have also become much more cynical.
I stopped long ago placing anyone on a pedestal, least they fall and disappoint me. None of us are perfect. We all are flawed. There are no "true" heroes. There are only situations and circumstance in which we can either rise to or shy from. Often without thinking either way. Some of us "react" heroically in the moment, without fully contemplating the consequences of our actions. That can result from years of prior training and practice. We don't think, we just respond as trained or conditioned to. And "heroes" in one moment can behave as "cowards" in another. Same person, similar circumstance, different time.
I wonder if behaving "heroically" by not contemplating the consequences of the moment and thereby lacking a sense of fear is "true" heroism.
Fear in such moments can heighten ones senses. We become more acute, more aware of our immediate surroundings... and life becomes more exhilarating when we lay it all on the line. There is an adrenalin rush that can even become addictive to some of us... 
I think the "true" heroes (if they exist or ever have) are those who fully understood the mortal results of their actions beforehand. Feared losing their mortality, but did what they did anyway. And knowingly, willingly, "sacrificed" themselves for something other than self... Something that they believed was worth the price of their further existence, whatever it might have been.  I count those who have stood and stand up against perceived injustice to come as close as any to being "real" heroes.
Sorry for being so reflective about all this... but perhaps I have unfairly misjudged Cooper.
And if I have, I am grateful to you for restoring him to me.

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I think we all need our heroes in life, Stephen, if only to believe, with all the terrible headlines that we see each day, that some men (and women) really do represent our better angels.

I still regard Muhammad Ali in those terms, not only for what he accomplished in the ring, but for his principled stand against the Viet Nam War. This was a man at the peak of his athletic powers (never to reach that same peak again) who allowed the boxing organizations to strip him of his heavyweight title, and the money that went with it. He had to scrounge financially for a number of years, and was facing imprisonment for up to five years.

Ali even turned down a sweetheart deal from the military, similar to Joe Louis' during WW2, in which he could avoid imprisonment by agreeing to fight exhibition matches for the troops, and wouldn't have to pick up a gun or go to any war fronts. He considered it still a compromise on his moral stand against the war and refused to participate.

Many feel that Ali's first fight against Frazier (which was the first fight he lost) came too soon for him (only two fights after three years of inactivity). Ali agreed to the fight to take place in March, 1971, knowing that the Supreme Court was going to rule on his conviction for draft evasion in June and he might be going to prison for five years then. He may well have lost to Frazier anyway with more preparation, who knows, but his performance probably would have been better with another tuneup or two.

Sorry for rambling about Muhammad on a High Noon thread. I got caught up with your talk about real life heroes, and a man I have always found inspirational. (He was no saint and had his flaws, of course, but I think he represents, in the final analysis, some of the inspirational qualities towards which we can aspire).

Anyway, I'm glad my passage from that Cooper book and those Carl Foreman quotes about him provided you will a little more insight into the actor's character.

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I Agree wholeheartedy with you about MA, Tom.
 

On 9/21/2017 at 9:03 PM, TheCid said:
....

 

As for Ali, he was Heavyweight Champion of the World and wealthy.  He was probably most famous black man in America.  I don't believe it took a lot of courage for him to do what he did.  He probably believed he would get away with it because of his status.  He claimed to be a Conscientious Objector based on Islam.  As we know, there are millions of Muslims who fight in wars.  He never served a day in prison because his denial of CO status was denied on a technicality.  In fact, the SCOTUS was set to uphold the denial of CO status, but then one justice found a technical loophole with which to overturn it.  The justice did not wish to come out and say clearly that he was entitled to be classified as a CO. Ali continued to fight and get paid until defeated.

As I recall, Cassius Clay changed his name in early 1964, shortly after the Sonny Liston fight in Miami (February 25). This was before the Gulf of Tonkin incident(s) in August 1964 (one fact, one fabrication). Before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, before the Marines landed (in March 1965), and well before Johnson committed U.S. army ground troops on an ever enlarging scale.

Johnson was campaigning to be elected president in his own right in 1964, and wanted to present himself as a "dovish" "anti-war" president to gain votes from that constituency.  During Johnson's add campaign Barry Goldwater was labeled a "War hawk," and I still vividly remember that commercial with the little girl picking a flower while an ominous voice counted down to a nuclear explosion.

I also clearly remember Johnson's 1964 speech promising not to escalate our involvement in the war in Vietnam... "We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves...."

Malcolm X had been Cassius Clay's mentor since 1962, and I am sure you remember how bad things were for people of color in the early 60's, esp. regarding civil rights.

As previously posted, Clay had registered for the draft when he turned 18, but failed the military literacy test and  so he was classified 1-Y (ineligible for draft and fit for service only in times of national emergency).

So when Clay made his public announcement (after winning the Liston fight) of his religious conversion to Islam and proclaimed a name change to "separate" himself from his "slave name," I believe that he was being very sincere, and was not thinking about being drafted and serving in Vietnam at that time.

And just that announcement was quite costly at the time, especially for someone trying to make a "living" as a boxer. The religious conversion and name change alone caused Clay to be banned from fighting in several conservative states and the WBA stripped him of his title. 

It wasn't until 1966, after the army had lowered it's "standards," that Muhammad Ali (aka Cassius Clay) was reclassified as 1-A (eligible for the draft). At that time there was a growing awareness and movement by many people in the U.S. against the war for a variety of reasons, including "religious" ones.

That was when Ali made his publicly famous (infamous) declarations of unwillingness to serve in the armed forces.

In April 1967, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) appeared before the induction board, but as an act of defiance refused to step forward when his (former) name was called (a felony punishable by five years in prison along with a steep fine).

He was arrested. His Championship title was stripped from him and Ali was denied a license to box in every U.S. state.

In June 1967, Ali was convicted. The conviction was appealed and upheld, and further appealed, eventually to be reviewed and unanimously overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1971.

During the appeals process Ali paid a bond and did not actually serve time in prison, but from April 1967 until the Jerry Quarry fight, October 26, 1970 (a professional lifetime for most young boxer's) he was unable to make a living as a boxer in the United States. 

Ali knew the consequences of his actions. In addition to ruining his lucrative professional career it could easily have meant a five year prison sentence and a lifetime labeled as a convicted felon.

He was also made aware that because of his celebrity the military would be willing to work with him and if he chose to serve he would likely never see a combat zone except perhaps to perform exhibition fights.

But he was a man of his convictions, and rather than deny them he chose to accept the consequences of his actions, as potentially damaging as they were and could be. He chose the very real possibility of jail rather than fighting in an unjust war which went against his convictions.

He became an avid civil rights advocate, an anti war activist, and an articulate public speaker, and served as an inspiration for many  regardless of their color or creed.

Not counting the fictional "fantasy Super Fight" between Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano (with alternate endings) broadcast on January 20, 1970. Ali was almost 29 when he was finally allowed to return to the ring to fight Jerry Quarry ("The Great White Hope") in Oct. 1970.

Already an "old man" by most athletic standards, and especially so for a boxers career, Ali (to his great physical detriment) defied all odds and continued to box until he was almost 40 years old.

His last professional bout was with Trevor Berbick in Dec. 1981.

True, religious fervor has been a cause of conflict and war as long  as there have been religions.

And "Christians," be they Catholics, Protestants, or other "Christian" sects, have committed heinous atrocities against each other "in the name of god," as have Sunni and S h i i t e  Muslims, Hindus, Hebrews and Jews. History from ancient pagan times to the present is littered with numerous examples of religious persecution and warfare, including a host of well documented crusades, inquisitions, and jihads.

Believers of both the Bible and the Quran claim tenets of peace, love, and tolerance, yet their scriptures are exampled with acts of war, violence, and hate.

People selectively justify their actions from both.

Yes, Muhammad Ali was the "Heavyweight Champion of the World and wealthy" (though few fighters die that way).  And he was perhaps the "most famous black man in America," or at least in similar league with the notoriety of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, at that time.

True, he didn't actually serve a day in jail, but that doesn't discount that he chose to be arrested with the very real probability of going to prison, and sacrificing his title, his career, his wealth, his celebrity, and his physical freedom, rather than join in what he believed to be an unjust war.

I do consider that an act of bravery and courage.

Whereas several that I knew at that time chose to avoid the draft, military service or going to war, in a variety ignoble ways, and a few even joined the military to avoid certain jail time, only a handful chose to do so through open singular protest.

Civil disobedience. Refusing to cooperate with what is perceived as injustice or an "unjust" system, and willing to "face the music" for one's actions (or inaction) without running away.  

But then I have long been an admirer of Thoreau, Gandhi, King, and Trumbo, so I am perhaps inclined to respect and admire those whom I perceive of similar ilk.

However I openly admit that I abhor hypocritical individuals who avoid personal sacrifice, and yet encourage others to do so.
And I detest "chicken hawks" that promote war for others while they themselves refuse to serve in it or sacrifice for it.

And yes, once Muhammad Ali was reinstated, he did continue to fight in the ring, even after he was defeated. And yes, he was well paid, and also paid dearly for those actions as well. With his body and brain.

We are now beginning to understand and acknowledge what damage high level singular and low level repeated physical trauma can do to the brain. Traumatic brain injury, whether from accidents, contact sports, or concussion explosives, can lead to a host of symptoms, including those associated with Parkinson's disease.

So yes, boxing can be, in some ways, as violent to the body as certain types of warfare.

Times change, and sometimes people and their attitudes do likewise.
Persons whom were vilified at one time, may be "sanctified" in another.
And those once thought "beyond reproach," may later be reflected upon with a more vile attitude.

At the time Muhammad Ali stood up against the draft, and voiced his opposition to the war, many vilified him.
Since that time, many have changed their minds, and see him as a man in many ways ahead of his time, perhaps still ahead of his time. 

I was of mixed attitude at that time, but since have come to both greatly respect and admire him as a man worthy of such appreciation. 

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