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Half-way through this year's SUTS-- favorite days so far...?


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High Noon is a well made movie, but at bottom it's not all that different from a certain type of noir or pre-code drama whose plots centered on towns afraid to take on the local crime syndicate.  Are those films also to be considered some sort of a metaphor?

 

 

 

Only if they were written by a blacklisted writer like Carl Foreman, who wrote "High Noon." 

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High Noon is a well made movie, but at bottom it's not all that different from a certain type of noir or pre-code drama whose plots centered on towns afraid to take on the local crime syndicate.  Are those films also to be considered some sort of a metaphor?

 

Only if they were written by a blacklisted writer like Carl Foreman, who wrote "High Noon."

 

So if Carl Foreman had written Gigi or An American In Paris, would that have also made those movies to be metaphors for McCarthyism? 

 

High Noon is one of those films where people can read into it whatever they want.  But the plot itself has nothing to do with the central issue of McCarthyism.  Nobody was accusing Cooper or anyone else of being spies for Frank Miller's gang.

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High Noon is a well made movie, but at bottom it's not all that different from a certain type of noir or pre-code drama whose plots centered on towns afraid to take on the local crime syndicate.  Are those films also to be considered some sort of a metaphor?

 

Only if they were written by a blacklisted writer like Carl Foreman, who wrote "High Noon."

 

So if Carl Foreman had written Gigi or An American In Paris, would that have also made those movies to be metaphors for McCarthyism? 

 

High Noon is one of those films where people can read into it whatever they want.  But the plot itself has nothing to do with the central issue of McCarthyism.  Nobody was accusing Cooper or anyone else of being spies for Frank Miller's gang.

 

I tend to agree with you that if there is any poitlical theme to High Noon it is related to the town (but on a macro political level the country),   not wishing to get involved stopping 'evil' that isn't directly connected to them (or no longer connected to them).

 

So that would be more along the lines of isolationism.

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I tend to agree with you that if there is any poitlical theme to High Noon it is related to the town (but on a macro political level the country),   not wishing to get involved stopping 'evil' that isn't directly connected to them (or no longer connected to them).

 

So that would be more along the lines of isolationism.

 

Bingo.  Very well put.

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I can think of quite a few westerns (and I'm not a huge fan of the genre) that say more about the complexities of human morality, law and order, and even subversively probe the political climate of the day than High Noon. (And do so with better acting and/or more visual flair.)

 

Johnny Guitar; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Ox-Bow Incident, 3:10 to Yuma, Bad Day at Black Rock (sue me, I see it as a Western.)

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Also Pursued, The Naked Spur, and (just for fun) maybe Rancho Notorious.

Yes, of cawse!

How could I fawget about Wancho Natawious ?I?I?

 

(I actually thought about including The Naked Spur in my list, but it's been so long since I've seen it, I didn't recall whether or not it had political undertones.) Moral ambiguities definitely. It's like a noir Western.

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Did Carl Foreman ever go on record what his intent was in the story? If so, that would settle the argument.........

 

I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read anything he said about it, but John Wayne is supposed to have thought it was an “anti-American” movie, because the whole town failed to help the Marshal.

 

However, the theme of the film, about one decent lone man in a town full of cowards who owe the lone man a lot of favors, could be applied in any country, in any town, under any political system.

 

We could just as easily say that Marshal Kane was a lone brave freedom fighter in some Communist country that is run by corrupt politicians. We could say he was an underground fighter risking his life in Nazi Germany. And we could say he was an honest man in some big American city full of crooks and crooked politicians.

 

As it is, all the capitalist businessmen in town refused to help Kane. The good decent church men refused to help him. His religious wife refuses to help him (through most of the movie). Then at the end, she renounced her religious beliefs to kill a man to save her brave husband’s life.

 

So, while it might have intended to carry a Communist message (about the Capitalists and church people), the story itself could actually be applied in so many places about so many types of people, governments, and economic systems, I never thought of it as a Communist movie. Foreman might have watered down the “message” so much that it turned out to be a universal story of a brave man fighting bad guys alone, which can apply anywhere at any time. And there are hundreds of Western movies that have carried that message, going back to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, and even many of John Wayne's earliest Westerns where he risked his life to save all the people in a small town.

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Gladys George day.  I had no idea that she was in so many great films, although I always appreciated her presence in supporting roles.  Madame X blew me away, by far the best version of that story, despite the cheap production values.  She moved me to tears in that one and effectively transformed from an attractive upper class woman to the character on the skids who has been through it all.  The supporting cast was also very good.

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I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read anything he said about it, but John Wayne is supposed to have thought it was an “anti-American” movie, because the whole town failed to help the Marshal.

 

However, the theme of the film, about one decent lone man in a town full of cowards who owe the lone man a lot of favors, could be applied in any country, in any town, under any political system.

 

We could just as easily say that Marshal Kane was a lone brave freedom fighter in some Communist country that is run by corrupt politicians. We could say he was an underground fighter risking his life in Nazi Germany. And we could say he was an honest man in some big American city full of crooks and crooked politicians.

 

As it is, all the capitalist businessmen in town refused to help Kane. The good decent church men refused to help him. His religious wife refuses to help him (through most of the movie). Then at the end, she renounced her religious beliefs to kill a man to save her brave husband’s life.

 

So, while it might have intended to carry a Communist message (about the Capitalists and church people), the story itself could actually be applied in so many places about so many types of people, governments, and economic systems, I never thought of it as a Communist movie. Foreman might have watered down the “message” so much that it turned out to be a universal story of a brave man fighting bad guys alone, which can apply anywhere at any time. And there are hundreds of Western movies that have carried that message, going back to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, and even many of John Wayne's earliest Westerns where he risked his life to save all the people in a small town.

 

 

Yes, true.

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Yes, true.

 

This very same discovery of mine also applies to THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION.

 

This was a booklet published in the US, Germany, and I think a few other European countries, early in the 20th Century, and it was supposed to be a “secret” plan of The Jews to take over the world.

 

After years of searching, I finally was able to track down a copy, and I discovered that the booklet can apply to ANY GROUP, including Republicans, Democrats, Nazis, Communists, Vegetarians, Motorcycle Buffs, and any group at all that wants a lot of publicity or that wants to dominate a country or the world.

 

So, to claim it belongs to or originated with one particular group, is just meaningless. And, in fact, in the 1990s I read that some crazy Japanese cult was using it as their own cult Manifesto and Guidebook.

 

:)

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This very same discovery of mine also applies to THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION.

 

This was a booklet published in the US, Germany, and I think a few other European countries, early in the 20th Century, and it was supposed to be a “secret” plan of The Jews to take over the world.

 

When I opened a series of book shops in the Washington area in 1984, one of my specialties was books on anti-semitism, the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust, with an emphasis on early and original editions.  I got a lot of my material by advertising in a trade publication called AB Bookman's Weekly, and by offering specific prices for specific books I was able to get a lot of rare material.

 

Among the books I advertised for were any pre-WW2 editions of The Protocols, for which I was offering to pay from $25 to $50 in nice condition.  I got a fair number in response, kept a few for my own collection, sold more than a few, and then out of the blue came an offer of a thousand copies for 25 cents each!

 

Of course these weren't original editions, but rather a reprint that was published by some neo-Nazi group in California for distribution to American anti-semites.  I'm sure that millions of copies are to this day being circulated all over the world.

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Here is a blog about "High Noon" that may provide food for thought:

 

http://iceboxmovies....nemann-and.html

 

You're right.  It's a very good long essay that's definitely worthy reading.

 

It's not that long, but it is totally worth reading. I really liked it a lot and did not realize that (apparently) so many other people did not care for High Noon, I've always thought I stood nearly alone in my dislike of the film. 

 

I now feel positively dirty knowing that Roger Ebert and I are simpatico on something... (emits that sound Sideshow Bob makes when he steps on the rake in the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons "br-ugh-gh-ugh.".)

 

I did not realize Zinneman spent so much time defending High Noon throughout the years.

 

The article focuses a lot on Howard Hawks's vocal dislike of the film and how it inspired him (in a "good bad" way) in his work.

 

For the record, I actually have issues with Red River (done by Hawks four years before High Noon )- mainly its ending (it feels to me like it doesn't fit with the rest of the tone of the movie and story that leads to it); I also don't think Joanne Dru is right at all for her part and is not good.

 

Now that I think about it, there are certain parallels between the faults of Zinneman's and Hawks' two "signature" westerns- pristinely coiffed, dull female leads and story elements some viewers might argue with.

 

In the end though, Hawks definitely wins out because his filmography contains many great and near-about flawless films, whereas I am really, really iffy on everything I've seen of Zinneman's (with the exception of A Man for all Seasons.)

 

I will toss in through, my problems with High Noon outside of Grace Kelly's Quaker wife shooting the bad guy, are not at all related to the story, but to the stiffness of the acting; the lack of period detail; the pacing; the direction and- again- the second degree assault the soundtrack commits with Do Not Foresake Me...Blah Blah Blah.

 

Thanks to whoever posted that article and I add my voice to recommending it.

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We're heading into the final stretch. While this year's Summer Under the Stars wasn't perfect, I think the last two days are very good with films featuring Betty Grable and Alan Ladd. 

 

SUTS works best when it spotlights performers with a majority of their work outside the Turner Library. It gives us a reason to watch, because the offerings are a bit different than what we see on TCM for much of the year.

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We're heading into the final stretch. While this year's Summer Under the Stars wasn't perfect, I think the last two days are very good with films featuring Betty Grable and Alan Ladd. 

 

SUTS works best when it spotlights performers with a majority of their work outside the Turner Library. It gives us a reason to watch, because the offerings are a bit different than what we see on TCM for much of the year.

I didn't watch them all, and I didn't watch the actors I don't like, so my favorites are still Hi, Nellie with Paul Muni in a role I've never seen him play before and in which he excelled; Hot Heiress with new to me Ben Lyon and Ona Munson where the sets were as interesting as the story, if not more so; and finally the best, Hot Saturday, an eye-popping pre-code.

I hope all three are shown again, they were a WONDERFUL example of TCM doing what it used to do best, i.e., show classically classic movies that we all haven't seen a gazillion times. Sad that they don't do that anymore, and hopefully there will some day be a TCM for those most of people who love the S/O, S/O, and a new separate Classic TCM for the most of the rest of us who relish the classically classic black and white films from the 1930s and 1940s. Neener, neener. :P

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This got posted on a Star of the Month thread rather than this one.  Hopefully it will do some good here.

 

Back to the original topic:  After the movies I've seen this week one actor worthy of  a SUITS day next year is Raymond Burr.  His body of film work before Perry Mason and Ironside will provide plenty of candidates for a tribute and show just how talented an actor he really was.  In addition to what we saw this week -  Station West, Pitfall, and Cry in the Night - there is A Place in the Sun, Rear Window, The Naked Jungle, A Man Alone and of course Godzilla.  He played Marc Antony to Rhonda Fleming's Cleopatra in one movie that ran rings around Richard Burton's try; I can't remember the title of the film but it was made in the early 1950s.  Even a film I saw on GetTV  that was so bad I can't remember the title was watchable for his role as the villain.  The defense rests.

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He played Marc Antony to Rhonda Fleming's Cleopatra in one movie that ran rings around Richard Burton's try; I can't remember the title of the film but it was made in the early 1950s.  

It was SERPENT OF THE NILE.  Raymond Burr is also very good as a villain (what else?) in THE MAGIC CARPET with Lucille Ball.

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This got posted on a Star of the Month thread rather than this one.  Hopefully it will do some good here.

 

Back to the original topic:  After the movies I've seen this week one actor worthy of  a SUITS day next year is Raymond Burr.  His body of film work before Perry Mason and Ironside will provide plenty of candidates for a tribute and show just how talented an actor he really was.  In addition to what we saw this week -  Station West, Pitfall, and Cry of the City - there is A Place in the Sun, Rear Window, The Naked Jungle, A Man Alone and of course Godzilla.  He played Marc Antony to Rhonda Fleming's Cleopatra in one movie that ran rings around Richard Burton's try; I can't remember the title of the film but it was made in the early 1950s.  Even a film I saw on GetTV  that was so bad I can't remember the title was watchable for his role as the villain.  The defense rests.

He hasn't HAD one? Inexcusable. Oh, you left out A Cry In The Night. Whoa.

 

Of course, I'd have to watch with one eye closed, except for Godzilla, but wow, he was THE standout creepy creep in all the movies where he was tapped to be the, natch, creep.

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I'm really enjoying today's Betty Grable SUTS day.  I think I've watched more films on her SUTS day than I did for any other star.  I've watched Give Me a Sailor, Meet Me After the Show, The Dolly Sisters, How to Marry a Millionaire and now, I'm watching Down Argentine Way.  I had to run an errand in the middle of my Grable marathon and recorded Mother Wore TightsI Wake Up Screaming is on next, and while I've already seen it, I'll probably watch it again because I really enjoyed it the first time.  I've also seen How to Marry a Millionaire a million times; but I always enjoy it, so it was nice seeing it again. 

 

While I know 'Millionaire' and Down Argentine Way are on often ('Millionaire' a regular fixture on the schedule, it seems), it'd be neat if TCM will be able to continue airing more of her films.  While I knew she was a major Fox star and starred in many musicals, I hadn't seen any of them except for 'Millionaire,' so this has been a fun day. 

 

Tomorrow I'm recording the Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake movies that are scheduled.  I'm looking forward to watching those later as well.  I'm going on vacation on Monday, so it may take me awhile to catch up on everything.

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I'm really enjoying today's Betty Grable SUTS day.  I think I've watched more films on her SUTS day than I did for any other star.  I've watched Give Me a Sailor, Meet Me After the Show, The Dolly Sisters, How to Marry a Millionaire and now, I'm watching Down Argentine Way.  I had to run an errand in the middle of my Grable marathon and recorded Mother Wore TightsI Wake Up Screaming is on next, and while I've already seen it, I'll probably watch it again because I really enjoyed it the first time.  I've also seen How to Marry a Millionaire a million times; but I always enjoy it, so it was nice seeing it again. 

 

While I know 'Millionaire' and Down Argentine Way are on often ('Millionaire' a regular fixture on the schedule, it seems), it'd be neat if TCM will be able to continue airing more of her films.  While I knew she was a major Fox star and starred in many musicals, I hadn't seen any of them except for 'Millionaire,' so this has been a fun day. 

 

Tomorrow I'm recording the Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake movies that are scheduled.  I'm looking forward to watching those later as well.  I'm going on vacation on Monday, so it may take me awhile to catch up on everything.

Yes, it has been one of the better days this month.  The programmers did a good job selecting films from RKO, Paramount and Fox to honor Grable. It's easy to see why audiences loved her.

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