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From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created. It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirt From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created. It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirty-two days but achieved instant box-office and critical success. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Cooper. And it became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude. Yet what has been often overlooked is that High Noon was made during the height of the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal. In the middle of the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was forced to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his former membership in the Communist Party. Refusing to name names, he was eventually blacklisted and fled the United States. (His co-authored screenplay for another classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, went uncredited in 1957.) Examined in light of Foreman's testimony, High Noon's emphasis on courage and loyalty takes on deeper meaning and importance. In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, exploring how Carl Foreman's concept of High Noon evolved from idea to first draft to final script, taking on allegorical weight. Both the classic film and its turbulent political times emerge newly illuminated.


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From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created. It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirt From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created. It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirty-two days but achieved instant box-office and critical success. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Cooper. And it became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude. Yet what has been often overlooked is that High Noon was made during the height of the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal. In the middle of the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was forced to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his former membership in the Communist Party. Refusing to name names, he was eventually blacklisted and fled the United States. (His co-authored screenplay for another classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, went uncredited in 1957.) Examined in light of Foreman's testimony, High Noon's emphasis on courage and loyalty takes on deeper meaning and importance. In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, exploring how Carl Foreman's concept of High Noon evolved from idea to first draft to final script, taking on allegorical weight. Both the classic film and its turbulent political times emerge newly illuminated.

30 review for High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    This is the story of a movie and a man. The movie is High Noon and the man is Carl Foreman, its screenwriter. THE MOVIE. High Noon(1952) is one of the most famous and best liked westerns ever made. Practically everybody is familiar with the plot (and if you aren’t, what's your excuse?) of town marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper), who is not only deserted by the rest of the town (Hadleyville), but also by his brand-new Quaker bride (Grace Kelly), who of course is a pacifist who abhors violence. Do no This is the story of a movie and a man. The movie is High Noon and the man is Carl Foreman, its screenwriter. THE MOVIE. High Noon(1952) is one of the most famous and best liked westerns ever made. Practically everybody is familiar with the plot (and if you aren’t, what's your excuse?) of town marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper), who is not only deserted by the rest of the town (Hadleyville), but also by his brand-new Quaker bride (Grace Kelly), who of course is a pacifist who abhors violence. Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’, On this, our wedding day. Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’, Wait; wait alone. But as a man of courage and integrity, “he does what a man’s gotta do.” Will Kane (Cooper) to Amy Kane (Kelly): "I’ve got to, that’s the whole thing." And so single-handedly, he is forced to take on a gang of four murderous gunmen (Ian McDonald, Lee Van Cleef, Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley), with only one person finally coming to his aid. Three Republican presidents – Eisenhower, Reagan, and George W. Bush – and one Democrat – Bill Clinton – named it as their favorite movie. That shouldn’t be surprising. Will Kane was a leader who was deserted by his followers. Nevertheless, he attempted to rally them in order to deal with the evil the town faced. When that failed, he did not cut and run, for he knew that the gunmen could and would track him down no matter where he fled. So he made a stand. Presidents can’t cut and run either; they must make a stand (well, should anyway). I do not know what fate awaits me, I only know I must be brave, Or lie a coward, a craven coward; Or lie a coward in my grave. John Wayne and director Howard Hawks hated the film. Wayne was quoted as saying that it was “the most un-American thing I have seen in my whole life!” He objected to the fact that the marshal showed fear and he stated that it was unbelievable that real pioneer settlers would have failed to come to the aid of their marshal. But his greatest complaint concerned the final scene when Marshal Kane removed his badge and dropped it to the ground. No lawman portrayed by John Wayne would ever show fear and he wouldn’t ask for the assistance of the town’s citizens, though they would be willing to come to his aid if he asked. And he sure would not have thrown his badge into the dirt. Hawks and Wayne made Rio Bravo (1959), and two re-makes, as their answer to High Noon. But Brian Garfield in his book, Western Films: A Complete Guide, wrote: “[Rio Bravo] is overrated, overripe, and overlong … Hawks and Wayne insisted it was their ‘answer’ to High Noon … but that is like answering a serious poem with a nursery-rhyme verse.” Ouch! Do not forsake me, oh my darlin' You made that promise as a bride Do not forsake me, oh my darlin' Although you're grievin', don't think of leavin' Now that I need you by my side. Oh, to be torn ‘twixt love an’ duty. S’posin’ I lose my fair-haired beauty. Look at that big hand move along, Nearing high noon. THE MAN. During the film’s production, scriptwriter and associate producer Carl Foreman was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which was investigating communist influence in the film industry. In his appearance he took the Fifth and refused to name names as requested by the committee. This was tantamount to admitting guilt as far as the committee was concerned. Consequently, Foreman was branded an “unfriendly witness” and his name was placed on a blacklist, one that either destroyed or badly damaged the careers of those who had failed to co-operate with the committee. It also meant that because of the fear of association that few people were going to come to the “accused” person’s defense. In fact, producer Stanley Kramer wanted Foreman to be more forthcoming with the committee and when he wasn’t, the producer feared Foreman’s association with the film would doom it at the box office. As a result, he did receive credit for the screenplay, but Kramer removed Foreman's name from the associate producer's credit. So it is no wonder that Foreman saw the film as an allegory for the evils of the witch hunt. His life had become exhibit no. 1. As far as he was concerned, he was Will Kane trying to do what was right, and having to do it alone, because the fears of guilt by association that others felt had the effect of isolating him, just as it did Will Kane. " Though Frankel began this sumptuous history long before the latest election, he ends up reminding us that 2016 was far from the first time politicians trafficked in lies and fear, and showing us how, nonetheless, people came together to do exemplary work. " -- John Domini, The Washington Post This is the second book in which Frankel skillfully interweaves film making and American history. The first was The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend. That classic western, starring John Wayne in his best performance, is inspired by the real-life kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker from her frontier Texas home by Comanche raiders. As he does in High Noon, Frankel gives the reader insights into both the making of the film and the history upon which it is based. Both books are well-written and thoroughly researched, but then that is what one would expect from a Pulitzer winning journalist. I recommend them both. You can watch the opening of High Noon and the singing of the film’s Oscar winning theme song by Tex Ritter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKLvK... And the exciting conclusion of the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZil7...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    The award winning western movie has been considered a morality play or a masterpiece of the psychological western. Frankel tells the story of the conflict intertwined with screenwriter Carl Foreman who was under fire for not “playing ball” with the McCarthy committee and later blacklisted, and director Fred Zimmermann. Frankel also goes into depth about the acrimonious split with producer (and owner of United Artists) Stanley Kramer and Foreman. Frankel tells of the activities of the House Un-Am The award winning western movie has been considered a morality play or a masterpiece of the psychological western. Frankel tells the story of the conflict intertwined with screenwriter Carl Foreman who was under fire for not “playing ball” with the McCarthy committee and later blacklisted, and director Fred Zimmermann. Frankel also goes into depth about the acrimonious split with producer (and owner of United Artists) Stanley Kramer and Foreman. Frankel tells of the activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee and the industry politics that made the blacklist possible and its effect on the making of the movie “High Noon”. Frankel provides a most interesting background history of the innerworkings and politics of the movie industry particularly during the change over from silent to talking movies. The author paints a devastating picture of a powerful force crumbling under oppression. Kramer also hints that it was not only communism the committee was targeting but it was riddled with anti-Semitism. Frankel makes extensive parallels of then and now particularly when he lays the blame at the feet of the press for their willingness to print the phony or exaggerated allegations of public officials and friendly witnesses without holding them up to scrutiny or challenging the assumptions. The author claims this gave Senator McCarthy a veneer of legitimacy. He then goes on to demonstrate how this effected Hollywood and the making of this movie. The book is well written and meticulously researched. Frankel combed through the vast amount of testimony, depositions, and correspondence to document his findings. The author also describes the decades long battle for credit in the movie resulting from the effects of the McCarthy committee. This book is made more interesting considering today’s political activities. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is about fourteen and half hours long. Allan Robertson is a new narrator for me. He does a good job narrating the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    happy

    This is the second book I’ve read by Mr. Frankel on the making of a classic American Western and like The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, High Noon is excellent. In this narrative, Mr. Frankel not only looks at the making of one of Hollywood’s great Westerns, but at what was going in American at the same time, the post war Red Scare. In telling the story of the film, the author uses the screen writer’s (Carl Foreman) experiences to tell that story. Like many left leaning people in Ho This is the second book I’ve read by Mr. Frankel on the making of a classic American Western and like The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, High Noon is excellent. In this narrative, Mr. Frankel not only looks at the making of one of Hollywood’s great Westerns, but at what was going in American at the same time, the post war Red Scare. In telling the story of the film, the author uses the screen writer’s (Carl Foreman) experiences to tell that story. Like many left leaning people in Hollywood before the war, he drifted into the Communist Party and when it didn’t live up to his expectations, he drifted out of it. Mr. Frankel tells of Forman’s time in the Army during WWII. His having been a member of the Communist Party didn’t seem to matter to the military. The author also looks a Forman’s career path after the war as he tried to become reestablished as a top flight screen writer. He eventually joins with Stanley Kramer and they form a production company. At this point he takes a germ of a story and writes the screen play that becomes “High Noon.” In writing about the production, the author looks at the various aspect of producing an independent production – budget, casting, scheduling shooting and how the budget affects the sequence a movie is shot, hiring the people to do the music and even the editing process. Some of this is great reading, including the story of the composing of the theme song and the person to perform it were chosen. In telling the stories of the actors, Gary Cooper comes across as both a charming and a decent man. Mr. Frankel retells the scope of his career to that point. He tells where he came from and how he became Hollywood biggest draw during the late 30’s and 40s. However at this point of his career he was starting to get too old to be a leading man and he wasn’t sure where to go with his career. He took about half of his normal fee and was still by orders of magnitude the highest paid member of the cast , plus a percentage of the profits to appear in the film. He also tells of Cooper’s, who was very conservative politically, support of Foreman when Foreman runs into trouble with the Hollywood movers and shakers after his appearance before HUAC and his unwillingness to name names. Mr. Fankel also looks at the casting a novice actress to play Cooper's love interest in the film, Grace Kelly. She was less than half Cooper's age at the time of shooting. Their affair on and off the set and the affect it had on Cooper’s marriage is related. Interspersed with the movie making, is the story of the Red Scare, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and how it affected Hollywood. Mr. Foreman was called to testify before the committee and while fully admitting his involvement with the Communist Party in the ‘30s, refused to name others who were also affiliated with party during that time frame. Just how this affected him is very well covered. The author also looks at how others reacted and the pressures on them to “cooperate” fulling with HUAC. Some did, some didn’t and those who did not where blacklisted – Foreman included. The author follows Foreman after his black listing and his moving to England to get work. While continuing to work in film most of his contributions were uncredited at the time, including his work on the classic film “Bridge Over the River Kwai”. Overall this is a great read. In telling the human cost of the black list, Mr. Frankel does the reader a great service. This is definitely a 5 Star read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    You know the film. Sheriff Kane has married a Quaker beauty and is hanging up his gun and turning in his badge to run a shop. Then Kane learns that a gang is out to get even--Kane's life to pay for his arrest of their leader, now out of jail. Get out of town, everyone advises. This two-bit town wasn't worth dying for. Kane knows you can't escape the past. He had to face the danger and end it once and for all. As he tries to form a posse Kane discovers he is alone; everyone else in town justifies You know the film. Sheriff Kane has married a Quaker beauty and is hanging up his gun and turning in his badge to run a shop. Then Kane learns that a gang is out to get even--Kane's life to pay for his arrest of their leader, now out of jail. Get out of town, everyone advises. This two-bit town wasn't worth dying for. Kane knows you can't escape the past. He had to face the danger and end it once and for all. As he tries to form a posse Kane discovers he is alone; everyone else in town justifies retreating into their protective shells. Clocks tick off the minutes until noon when the train carrying his nemesis arrives. Kane is left alone on the empty street of a town without moral conviction, friendless; even his pacifist wife is leaving town without him. It is Kane alone against four armed men bent on murder. The simple song with the hoofbeat rhythm tells the story, and its melody morphs and evolves, becoming menacing and persistent, until it is High Noon. Stanley Kramer owed United Artists one more film to fulfill his contract, then he could get on making movies under his own studio. Screenwriter Carl Foreman had been working on an idea for several years, High Noon. They secured the over-the-hill but still box worthy actor Gary Cooper to play the lead, and newbie Grace Kelly to be his wife. No one thought the film would amount to much. Cooper's acting lacked oopmh, Kelly was too young, and, used to emoting to the back row in the theater, over-acted. The early film version was deemed awful and needed cutting and remaking. I was thrilled to read Glenn Frankel's book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. High Noon is a favorite film in my household. I know it scene by scene. Frankel's account of how the film was made was fascinating and exciting. Frankel portrays Gary Cooper as a handsome Lothario, also described as one of the nicest, greatest guys; Carl adores Coop. Frank Cooper was the son of a Montana lawyer who wanted to be an artist but could not afford art school. He went to Hollywood after learning they needed stunt artists. He was a quick study. His handsome good looks caught the eye of Clara Bow for her famous movie It. Gary Cooper was born. What really makes this book relevant and important is learning how the Cold War fostered an era of fear that allowed wholesale persecution. Before High Noon was complete Carl Foreman's name was given to the House Un-American Committee as a member of the Communist Party. Carl had been a member, drawn to its Anti-Fascism and promotion of the rights of minorities, Jews, immigrants, and unions. Carl had signed an oath in 1950 saying he was not (then) a member of the Communist Party. The Communist Party of the early 20th c attracted progressive liberals and intellectuals who supported such 'un-American' ideals as unionizing and workers rights; their agenda did not include the overthrow of the United States. The Communist Party was seen as a social club, a place for making connections. When Russia became an ally against Hitler and Hollywood was called upon to portray positive images in films like Song of Russia and Mission to Moscow. The House Un-American Committee 'quizzed' accused Communists, rewarding those who cooperated with reprieve, but not always forgiveness. Milton Berkeley gave the Committee 150 names and was their darling; yet when his son graduated from Yale he was denied acceptance into the Navy's Officer Training Program, blacklisted because his father had once been a Communist! Carl could have played their game, admit his sins and name several Communist party members they already knew about. He'd be off the hook, perhaps with his career damaged, but not over. Carl would not bend his convictions; he'd rather go to jail. Alone and afraid he faced the tribunal. They were not pleased. Carl was a liability. Kramer fired Carl; no studio could afford to be associated with Communism. Cooper, a Republican anti-Communist, believed in and supported Carl and wanted to help him start his own company; the deal fell through. Even Cooper couldn't defeat the HUAC and stand up to the threat of blacklisting. Foreman went to England and went on to write The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone, The Mouse that Roared, Born Free, and Young Winston. The HUAC's abuse of power was finally addressed by the Supreme Court in an a1957 ruling, stating that "There is no general authority to expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the functions of Congress. Nor is the Congress a law enforcement or trial agency." Senator Joseph McCarthy's fall also damaged the HAUC's credibility. Carl Foreman had lost his job; his name was expunged in the credits of High Noon and The Bridge on the River Kwai; his passport had been revoked; and his marriage damaged. And yet years later, back in America, he ran into John Wayne, an ardent anti-communist. They embraced as old friends. When Carl asked how he could accept an old enemy so nicely he replied that Wayne was a patriot and had only been doing what he thought was right. In times of national stress fear manifests in attacks against perceived threats, which in hindsight are seen as ill-advised, unconstitutional, and morally suspect. The red-baiting witch hunts of the 1950s were such a time. Frankel's book reminds us of the cost of allowing our fear to negate the rights guaranteed by our laws and warns against the misuse of power. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ALLEN

    Although Glenn Frankel's HIGH NOON: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic portrays star Gary Cooper on the cover, this book is really more about Carl Foreman, who wrote the HIGH NOON screenplay. Perhaps a third of the book is concerned with the "making of" aspects of that celebrated 1952 film, and what's there is solid enough, particularly the creative tensions that brought independent producer Stanley Kramer to undertake the movie, hire Foreman to write its screenplay an Although Glenn Frankel's HIGH NOON: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic portrays star Gary Cooper on the cover, this book is really more about Carl Foreman, who wrote the HIGH NOON screenplay. Perhaps a third of the book is concerned with the "making of" aspects of that celebrated 1952 film, and what's there is solid enough, particularly the creative tensions that brought independent producer Stanley Kramer to undertake the movie, hire Foreman to write its screenplay and Fred Zinneman to direct it, and to hold the production together despite bad weather and shaky finances. Gary Cooper's acting career, which had already peaked and had begun to decline, is treated sympathetically. Most of the rest concerns the life and hard times of Carl Foreman, who struggled for opportunity in Depression-era Hollywood and crafted the HIGH NOON screenplay just as some early connections sympathetic to American Communism came to the fore, threatened to destroy his career, and almost did. For the real antagonist in this book is not the powerful, entrenched studios like MGM, Paramount or Warners, nor the hot weather, nor the inroads of commercial television, but the political polarization of the country to the point where most conservatives were seen by the Left as automatically dangerous, and liberals were equated with socialists and communists by the Right. (Add to that the virtual industry of anti-communism, the 'hunters' of Reds, the 'exposers,' and perhaps most despicable of all, the 'fixers' who could restore a reputation under the right circumstances and at the right price, and this country had an explosive situation to be sure. But this book can only touch on that.) HIGH NOON reads well, but much of this has been covered before. The mechanics and ethics of "investigating" those in the Hollywood community with an eye to blacklisting them has been covered quite well in Victor Navasky's Naming Names (1980), nor has "Coop's" career gone uncelebrated in other books. It is Carl Foreman's life, in which full opportunity as a screenwriter was taken away from him just at the time he was most able to exercise it, that provides the drama, irony and tragedy of this book. If you're a film fan or specialize in the early McCarthy period, do not foresake this book: it isn't perfect but it's a pretty good read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tristram Shandy

    Movies in the Time of Cholera High Noon is not only an everlasting Hollywood classic whose very title has become a byword for bravely acting on your principles even when all the odds are against you, but it is also one of those few movies whose background story offers as much suspense and interest as the events that unfold in front of the camera. And journalist Glenn Frankel is definitely the man to do justice to a story which is not easy to tell because of all its ramifications. There have been v Movies in the Time of Cholera High Noon is not only an everlasting Hollywood classic whose very title has become a byword for bravely acting on your principles even when all the odds are against you, but it is also one of those few movies whose background story offers as much suspense and interest as the events that unfold in front of the camera. And journalist Glenn Frankel is definitely the man to do justice to a story which is not easy to tell because of all its ramifications. There have been various interpretations of Zinneman’s famous western that regard High Noon as a political parable, most of them seeing it as a denouncement of the anti-Red witch-hunts orchestrated by HUAC, which were even accused as un-American by President Truman himself. Marshal Will Kane finds himself forsaken by all of his hitherto friends and fellow-citizens of the town he has served for so many years when a dangerous criminal he arrested is pardoned after a couple of years in prison and returns, vowing to wreak revenge on his former captor. In this interpretation, Frank Miller stands for the Red-Baiters and Kane for their victims, while the townspeople represent studio executives who collaborate with HUAC in order to save their own studios and the majority of people who swim with the tide. However, there are also interpretations that regard Miller as a brave opponent to Communist infiltration of American society. Strangely, as Frankel points out, these political interpretations were not read into the movie shortly after its release, although patriots like John Wayne were immediately disgusted with High Noon because they thought that there could never have been a town full of cowards and opportunists like the one depicted by the movie in the whole Wild West. Frankel approaches his subject on a very broad scale, giving us the stories of the men who were most involved in the making of this movie and who later partly fell out over the question who had most part in making it such an overwhelming success. One of these men was scriptwriter Carl Foreman, who is something like the protagonist of this book in that Frankel follows Foreman through his time as a member of the Communist Party, the ordeal he went through as an “unfriendly witness” who remained adamantly unwilling to name names and through his exile in England, which was the price he had to pay for remaining loyal to his principles. Frankel also focuses on producer Stanley Kramer, who today is known for films such as Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner or The Defiant Ones but who eventually decided to dissociate himself from his former friend and business partner – paying him out generously, of course – in order not to endanger his Columbia deal, which was on the cards. Foreman, who could eventually forgive his antagonists, like John Wayne, but never again spoke a word to the man by whom he felt betrayed, would later call Kramer “the apostle of the safely controversial”, an epitome that made me laugh because I always have the same feeling when watching a Kramer movie and I cannot help thinking that we are living in an age where apostles of that kind are abounding and have nearly silenced the voice of reason with their Oz-lion-like roaring. Other men that play a special role in this book are actor Gary Cooper, who undoubtedly gave his finest performance in High Noon [1], director Fred Zinneman, who worked very closely with Foreman on set and who reinforced the use of clocks and the empty railway tracks as recurring motifs, and editor Elmo Williams, who claims to have “saved” High Noon by means of clever editing. Frankel follows the lives of these men, embedding them in the larger framework of the Red Scare and thus manages to present us a colourful picture of the times that saw the making of High Noon. I sometimes could not help feeling that Frankel’s training as a journalist and his understandable bias against the anti-Communist fear-mongers impaired his writing style as when he made sure that every representative of the “baddies” would be tagged with some little trait of character or outward appearance that would make them look ridiculous or morally questionable. Undoubtedly, HUAC activities were clearly not in line with the principles of freedom and the rule of law, both of them sacred American principles, and the influence of Communists in society as such and in the movie business in particular was grossly exaggerated by the anti-Red crusaders, but still one should not forget that this was a time when the Cold War was just heating up over Korea and that in retrospect, we may be more easily able to see things in their proper dimensions than this was possible to people living in those days. All in all, however, Frankel’s High Noon is a very insightful and entertaining book which I can fully recommend reading. [1] I recently watched this movie with my twelve-year old son, because I think even in the age of smartphone dross and insipid blockbusters children should have the opportunity to get to know film classics, and at first he was not too enthusiastic, seeing that it was yet another western (unlike my daughter, my son is not very fond of this genre), but he soon was absolutely captivated by Gary Cooper and the fright and despair he brings into the role.

  7. 4 out of 5

    George

    I COULDA BEEN A FASCIST. “The Communist Party was for years the best social club in Hollywood…” (p. 28). In the early 50s, when High Noon was released and I was on the cusp of adolescence, I remember thinking what a proud and patriotic thing the House Committee on Un-American Activities was doing: ridding Hollywood of all the subversive, ‘Commie rat bastards’ they could find. I was an idiot. In his excellent, well researched book, High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Cl I COULDA BEEN A FASCIST. “The Communist Party was for years the best social club in Hollywood…” (p. 28). In the early 50s, when High Noon was released and I was on the cusp of adolescence, I remember thinking what a proud and patriotic thing the House Committee on Un-American Activities was doing: ridding Hollywood of all the subversive, ‘Commie rat bastards’ they could find. I was an idiot. In his excellent, well researched book, High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, Glenn Frankel expertly illuminates the evil, harmful, and lasting impact that the HUAC had on real people—mostly sincere and caring Americans who thought freedom was a good idea. Witch-hunts and inquisitions are rarely noble; just self-righteous, and vicious. With blacklists, and graylists, and actual jail terms meted out for contempt of Congress—I can’t believe that even reopening the Japanese-American concentration camp at Tule Lake to house dissidents was considered—Tinsel-Town’s paranoia was more than justified. And, at the height of it all comes an American screen classic, a metaphorical tale of a reluctant hero, a man of integrity, abandoned by the friends from whom he’d expected better, who stands tall and faces evil on his own at, High Noon: screenplay by, soon to be blacklisted, Hollywood screenwriter, Carl Forman. Recommendation: For me: a painfully reminiscent story about more innocent times, and the tale of the making a great movie. For you: a bit of history, and a closer look at today’s world. For us: a cautionary tale well worth reading. “It is a story that bears a clear relation to things that are happening in the world today, where people are being terrorized by bullies and surrendering their freedom out of senselessness and fear.” (p. 259) Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition, 380 pages.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rama

    The dark hours of “High Noon” (five stars) This is a fascinating book about the impact of McCarthyism and the investigation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on Carl Foreman, the screen writer for the movie “High Noon.” This turbulent time had serious influence on the life and works of some of the best in Hollywood. The HUAC prepared a long list of names and asked them to testify regarding their alleged communist party activities. Some assisted the committee, many refused, a The dark hours of “High Noon” (five stars) This is a fascinating book about the impact of McCarthyism and the investigation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on Carl Foreman, the screen writer for the movie “High Noon.” This turbulent time had serious influence on the life and works of some of the best in Hollywood. The HUAC prepared a long list of names and asked them to testify regarding their alleged communist party activities. Some assisted the committee, many refused, and few relented. Many left the country and found home in Mexico, Europe and Latin America rather than sell out their principles and beliefs. They simply rejected the thought of naming their friends as communist party members. Carl Foreman was one of them. Having been blacklisted in Hollywood, Foreman moved to England where he wrote scripts under pseudonyms. In 1956 he co-wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed film, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” with fellow blacklisted writer Michael Wilson. This book tells the story how moderate and conservative members of Hollywood assisted McCarthyism penetrate deep into the movie making business. The life of Carl Foreman is illustrated as a shining example. When Foreman wrote for “High Noon,” he had something very specific on his mind. A simple moral, social and a political idea, in short an allegory for McCarthyism. It was a practice of making accusations of subversion and treason without proper evidence. Hollywood was especially targeted because of its influence on American society. Making unfair allegations and using questionable investigative techniques, fueling the fear of espionage by Soviet agents, the anti-communist pursuit was reinforced by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. For Carl Foreman, the lead actor, Gary Cooper as Marshall Will Kane of the small town named Hadleyville in New Mexico territory is in fact Carl Foreman himself. The gunmen coming to kill Marshal Kane were none other than members of HUAC, and the citizens of Hadleyvile were like the elite of Hollywood who stood passively and betrayed him as the forces of repression bore down on him. Foreman recalled years later that “As I was writing the screenplay, it became insane, because life was mirroring art and art was mirroring life.” It is one of the most iconic images of the American cinema. One lone cowboy walking down the street of a deserted Western town for a showdown with four killers. “High Noon” is embedded in American culture and the national memory. It is a favorite film for many presidents, political movements, journalists and movie fans. Shot in just 32 days on a shoestring budget with some of the most notable movie stars working at a fraction of their regular salaries. It was a rush job to fulfill an old contract. A powerful story, top-notch screen writing, superb performance and climatic shootout made it an instant classic. It won four Academy Awards including one for Gary Cooper in the best actor category. I did not take time to verify the veracity of all the historical details given in the book but I did come across two instances that was different from what I read in other books. Despite this observation, this is a fascinating account, and the Pulitzer Prize winning author Glenn Frankel describes the history beautifully. This book (356 pages) reads flawlessly and makes a wonderful reading for readers interested in the history of Hollywood, the history of making the film “High Noon” and how HUAC influenced Hollywood studios to blacklist uncooperative witnesses.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Film buffs and history aficionados will be delighted and riveted by Glenn Frankel's insightful and intimate look at the making of the classic 1952 western HIGH NOON. Most remember the unconventional and left-leaning western as the film that won Gary Cooper a Best Actor Academy Award. Few remember that it was made at the height of the Red Scare in Hollywood, when hundreds of studio employees were blacklisted out of jobs because of their liberal politics. Carl Foreman's award-winning screenplay wa Film buffs and history aficionados will be delighted and riveted by Glenn Frankel's insightful and intimate look at the making of the classic 1952 western HIGH NOON. Most remember the unconventional and left-leaning western as the film that won Gary Cooper a Best Actor Academy Award. Few remember that it was made at the height of the Red Scare in Hollywood, when hundreds of studio employees were blacklisted out of jobs because of their liberal politics. Carl Foreman's award-winning screenplay was an allegory about American foreign policy during the Korean War and a swipe at the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Frankel (THE SEARCHERS) rightfully focuses on Foreman as the hero behind HIGH NOON. He wrote the script after his 1947 appearance before HUAC, where he refused to name suspected Communists. Foreman was labeled an uncooperative witness and, after the release of his film, was blacklisted from films until 1961. His presence on HIGH NOON strained relationships with its producer (Stanley Kramer) and director (Fred Zinnemann). It also made the film a target of some of the loudest right-wing hawks in Hollywood--like columnist Hedda Hopper and actor John Wayne. Frankel's saga presents a gripping and coherent picture of the corrupt politics, paranoia and fear mongering that drove Hollywood studio heads to capitulate to anti-Communist witch-hunters. HIGH NOON is an important and compelling history of a great film made during one of the U.S.'s worst periods. Glenn Frankel creates a fascinating and definitive portrait of the left-leaning western HIGH NOON during the height of the McCarthy blacklist era.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Saunders

    Glenn Frankel's High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic uses the titular Western as a window in the Hollywood Red Scare. The making-of portions are arguably the least interesting part of the book; High Noon underwent a more or less routine production, though from a film buff's perspective it's always interesting to see how the script and storyline evolved over time and the changes wrought in the editing room. Frankel nonetheless assesses the harried environment i Glenn Frankel's High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic uses the titular Western as a window in the Hollywood Red Scare. The making-of portions are arguably the least interesting part of the book; High Noon underwent a more or less routine production, though from a film buff's perspective it's always interesting to see how the script and storyline evolved over time and the changes wrought in the editing room. Frankel nonetheless assesses the harried environment in which the film was produced, with the height of the Blacklist making its very existence problematic and a routine, if extremely well-made Western a political football. Frankel scores best profiling the movie's participants: Stanley Kramer, the liberal producer alternately courageous and compromised in his response to blacklisting; Fred Zinnemann, the Austrian director who always felt outcast in Hollywood; screenwriter Carl Foreman, an ex-Communist whose very involvement jeopardized the project; and Gary Cooper, its plainspoken, conservative star. Cooper, perhaps surprisingly, emerges as the most interesting: despite an often repugnant personal life (especially his treatment of Patricia Neal), he comes off as commendably tolerant and flexible, defending Foreman against accusations of disloyalty and walking a tight-rope between his conservative politics and eagerness to work with talented artists regardless of background (unlike John Wayne, who hated the film and boasted for decades afterwards about driving Foreman into exile). An engaging slice of film history, and a sign that Hollywood's "culture wars" aren't anything new.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Good films are a product of their time. And sometimes understanding not only what went into making a film but also the time in which it was made can lead to a deeper and richer viewing. That's the case with one of the greatest films ever committed to celluloid as examined by Glenn Frankel in his latest book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Frankel brings together many of the threads that led to the making of the film -- from the events leading up to the i Good films are a product of their time. And sometimes understanding not only what went into making a film but also the time in which it was made can lead to a deeper and richer viewing. That's the case with one of the greatest films ever committed to celluloid as examined by Glenn Frankel in his latest book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Frankel brings together many of the threads that led to the making of the film -- from the events leading up to the infamous Blacklist and naming names to the casting decisions for the film. Walking away from the book, you'll marvel at how many times things could have gone wrong for one of the iconic films of American cinema, but how they all lined up to produce a film that is as taut, entertaining and fascinating today as it was upon its initial release. Picking up this book will give you a new respect for High Noon and also leave you wanting to view the film again with the new insights gained from Frankel's thorough account about the making of this celebrated classic. The story of Will Kaine, a man deserted by his supposed friends in his hour of need, becomes even more gripping knowing what the screenwriter and many of those behind the scenes were putting on the line to make this movie. Frankel moves easily back and forth between giving us the micro and macro view of events unfolding to create this classic Western. If you're a fan of cinema, this is an absolute must read. Think of it as a printed version of the best DVD extra features you've ever seen.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doubledf99.99

    Great book and a scary book about Hollywood in the 50s, how a movie comes about and how it is made. Great bios' on Cooper, Kramer and Foreman and the other's who made High Noon, one thing that caught me by surprise was the main musical theme. The stuff on HUAC is scary enough as it is, there are heroes and villains, and should one survive the HUAC testimonies they may be blacklisted by Hollywood, it was a vicious cycle. Great book and a scary book about Hollywood in the 50s, how a movie comes about and how it is made. Great bios' on Cooper, Kramer and Foreman and the other's who made High Noon, one thing that caught me by surprise was the main musical theme. The stuff on HUAC is scary enough as it is, there are heroes and villains, and should one survive the HUAC testimonies they may be blacklisted by Hollywood, it was a vicious cycle.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    In-depth, well researched study of the story behind High Noon, everyone who went into its creation and resulting metaphor against the backdrop of the McCarthy Era.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction so the subject matter really needs to appeal to me and in the case of High Noon – it did. It’s got Hollywood, politicians behaving badly and a movie I remember watching with my father when I was a child. One of the first things I did after finishing the book was to go back and watch the movie again. It would have been nice to have had my father here to watch it with me again but I’m sure he was with me in spirit. The book focuses on the movie High Noon bu I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction so the subject matter really needs to appeal to me and in the case of High Noon – it did. It’s got Hollywood, politicians behaving badly and a movie I remember watching with my father when I was a child. One of the first things I did after finishing the book was to go back and watch the movie again. It would have been nice to have had my father here to watch it with me again but I’m sure he was with me in spirit. The book focuses on the movie High Noon but it’s really the retelling of how the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) went on its witch hunt throughout Hollywood to route out members of the Communist Party. Many had joined not out of any deep seated loyalty to Russia or “the Party” but rather as a rejection of policies that didn’t favor the working man. Many drifted out of the party without giving it a second thought not realizing the impact it would have on them later. Then the Cold War politics of fear began and as history tells us common sense went out the window. In Hollywood the HUAC started calling in people to testify and they had limited choices if they wanted to keep working; admit they were once in a member of the Party, say they no longer were and name the names of others they knew. It was a system that survived on fear; the fear of being called, the fear of having to name the names and the fear of being named. It was a horrifying time in American history. There were no checks and balances. Even the press failed to provide a counter; the journalists of the time went along with whatever the Committee put out. From the initial concept to the final cut I found the story of the making of High Noon to be fascinating. It almost didn’t get made and it changed as the screenwriter, Carl Foreman felt the impacts of the HUAC on his life and on Hollywood overall. He was a man committed to his ideals in a very difficult time. Mr. Frankel’s writing style is very easy to read and I never felt like I was in a textbook. It is deeply researched and footnoted. I think it’s an important book to read so we don’t forget what can happen when things get out of control. Anyone who loves movies and is interested in the political history of the country will find this to be a fascinating book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Kucharski

    The weight of Glenn Frankel’s second book in looking at the historical Hollywood is truly outlined in High Noon’s sub-title: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Frankel does provide a deep-dive directorial-style narration into the making of the Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly Western classic High Noon, but this account’s true showdown occurs as Congress and HUAC play the men in black with the artist as the white hat, fading hero pressed into one more battle. And the weight this The weight of Glenn Frankel’s second book in looking at the historical Hollywood is truly outlined in High Noon’s sub-title: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Frankel does provide a deep-dive directorial-style narration into the making of the Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly Western classic High Noon, but this account’s true showdown occurs as Congress and HUAC play the men in black with the artist as the white hat, fading hero pressed into one more battle. And the weight this book carries is impressive. Frankel intensely presents meticulous research into the time and era of the Red scare, its affect on the Hollywood engine, and the turmoil brought on by the ensuing witch hunts. However, such intensity often comes off with the academia stylings of a research paper that pulls away from the historical narrative of the film’s origin. For a quicker, compelling view into the times of the notorious Hollywood blacklist, one needs only to view the well-done 2015 film Trumbo. When the eponymous film is in focus, Frankel creates compelling, compassionate characters out of writer Carl Foreman, producer Stanley Kramer, director Fred Zinnemann, editor Elmo Williams, and star Gary Cooper. Each of these men’s desires, and especially fears, are triumphantly captured and endowed with a humanizing sense of wanting no less than to be free and create. Their stories are strong and wonderful and flawed and real with the end result, the film High Noon, becoming an enduring classic. Frankel’s read, High Noon, unfortunately, becomes so enraptured with the history, that the magic of Hollywood is forgotten for long, dry spells. Historian purists will certain applaud Frankel’s research. Fans of film might find this book cumbersome. The lawman might finally get his hand at justice, but the sun has already set. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the chance at this advance read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    Subtitled: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. That’s an important distinction, lest you make the mistake of assuming this is just a behind-the-scenes of the making of the popular Western film. It starts with a fantastic bio of Gary Cooper, but then shifts to a long history of American communism during WW2. The Cooper stuff is the best part of the first half; the Red scare hearings drag things down, slow the pace, though once in a while there’s a gem, like the news that Subtitled: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. That’s an important distinction, lest you make the mistake of assuming this is just a behind-the-scenes of the making of the popular Western film. It starts with a fantastic bio of Gary Cooper, but then shifts to a long history of American communism during WW2. The Cooper stuff is the best part of the first half; the Red scare hearings drag things down, slow the pace, though once in a while there’s a gem, like the news that Ayn Rand had a big part in this that no one knew about. There’s an interesting take by one of the lawyers representing someone “asked” to testify: “He would not represent anyone who took the Fifth Amendment, arguing that if they were former Communists, as all of his clients claimed to be, they had not broken any law and therefore did not need the amendment’s protection.” The best job description ever written has to be “the industry expert in frying producers.” This is a difficult read, both emotionally and. . . reading wise. Thankfully there’s some optimistic moments, such as the part at the end that tells about the movie’s—or at least the poster’s—role in helping Solidarity overcome the Communist government in Poland. Another fun fact is that this movie has the distinction of being the most requested by American presidents. But the most heartwarming has to be the story of detective work that unearthed the original manuscript of the screenplay for The Bridge on the River Kwai, leading the author of High Noon to receive credit for the Oscar-winning work just in the nick of time. Acknowledgements, notes, and bibliography take up the last 12%. As can be perceived by my previous comments, the parts about the movie were so much more interesting than the hearings. 4.5 for the movie stuff, 2.5 for hearings, so according to old math that comes out to: 3.5 pushed up to 4/5

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve Schechter

    Marshal Will Kane stands in the deserted street. The noon train whistles in the distance. Kane knows that Frank Miller is on it. Kane knows that he have will have to face Miller and three other gunmen by himself. He stands there alone, more alone than he’s ever felt. The camera cranes up to take in the whole town to emphasize Will’s isolation. And if you look just far enough in the distance you can see a telephone pole, which has no business being there. That is just one of the many things you’ll Marshal Will Kane stands in the deserted street. The noon train whistles in the distance. Kane knows that Frank Miller is on it. Kane knows that he have will have to face Miller and three other gunmen by himself. He stands there alone, more alone than he’s ever felt. The camera cranes up to take in the whole town to emphasize Will’s isolation. And if you look just far enough in the distance you can see a telephone pole, which has no business being there. That is just one of the many things you’ll learn about the 1952 classic High Noon if you read Glenn Frankel’s supremely involving chronicle, High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of An American Classic. This isn’t just a ‘making of’ book. Frankel charts the conception and production of the film and places it in its time, the Red Scare in Hollywood. Screenwriter Carl Foreman wrote the film as an allegory about the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) investigations into Communist subversion in Hollywood. Frank Miller and his gunnies were disreputable politicians and he was Gary Cooper. Foreman joined the Communist party in 1938, around the time of the Munich Pact when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. He left the party after Russia signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. His brief tenure in the party earned him a spot on the blacklist and kept him not only out of work, but out of the country, for several years. For me, Foreman’s story is the beating heart of the film and the book. Foreman is one of four major figures that brought High Noon to the screen. Frankel spends significant time on star Gary Cooper, producer Stanley Kramer, and director Fred Zinnemann. He provides a brief bio on each and does an excellent job of bringing them to life. I always thought of Gary Cooper as the stoic, reliable hero. But I never thought of Cooper as laying on the ground at lunch to rest his aching back. Frankel’s research makes these guys real. The author also doesn’t neglect the other contributors to the film. He spends time on the rest of the cast including Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, as well as other below-the-line talent like cinematographer Floyd Crosby. And what would any biography of High Noon be without the story of the theme song, ‘Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling’ by Dimitri Tiomkin and Tex Ritter? Now while the film nerd ate up the story of the production, the history dork drank in the info about the blacklist. Frankel does exhaustive work tracking the rise of HUAC against the movie industry. Even though I’d heard much of this before, it never ceases to infuriate. Frankel, a reporter at heart, does tremendous work at presenting information from a detached perspective. He lets the material itself do the work. High Noon is the first western I connected with. It has maybe the best example of the ethos of the western hero. When Kane is on his way out of town with his new bride to avoid a showdown, Kane tells her he has to go back. When she insists he doesn’t, he replies, “I’ve got to. That’s the whole thing.” The western hero walks towards danger not because he wants to, but because it’s the right thing to do. Carl Foreman refused to name names and spent years out of work. And even though he didn’t ride off with Grace Kelly in the end, he was able to work himself back into the business over time. And perhaps most important to him, he did the right thing. Now with this book, Foreman’s story can be told. Highest recommendations.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Though I own Glenn Frankel's previous book, The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, I have never gotten around to reading it, in part because its subject, John Ford's seminal 1956 Western, The Searchers, is not particularly dear to me. I recognize its cinematic and historic importance, but I don't enjoy watching it. Such is not the case with High Noon, long one of my favorite films. Released in 1952, the movie was the product of a true collaboration between writer Carl Foreman, director Though I own Glenn Frankel's previous book, The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, I have never gotten around to reading it, in part because its subject, John Ford's seminal 1956 Western, The Searchers, is not particularly dear to me. I recognize its cinematic and historic importance, but I don't enjoy watching it. Such is not the case with High Noon, long one of my favorite films. Released in 1952, the movie was the product of a true collaboration between writer Carl Foreman, director Fred Zinnemann, producer Stanley Kramer, cinematographer Floyd Crosby (father of future rock musician David Crosby), editor Elmo Williams, composer Dimitri Timken, and the powerful cast, headlined by major movie star Gary Cooper. Made at a time when Hollywood was finding itself increasingly consumed by an anti-communist backlash that forced many of its best and brightest to make a devil's bargain with the forces of repression – confess their sins and name names in front of the Congressional House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) – or be forced into exile (figurative and/or literal). Carl Foreman refused that bargain, and in the middle of production had to leave the shoot. Frankel's book profiles not only the making-of history of this brilliant movie, but its historical and political context, giving us detailed biographies of the main players, as well. An exhaustive and entertaining bit of journalism, it is an important work about one of the best American movies of all time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Tougas

    High Noon is certainly one of the most famous and admired Westerns in American film history. But according to Glenn Frankel's exhaustive (but never exhausting) account of the film's production, a lot of people don't even consider it a Western. Just ask John Wayne (if he was alive, that is). High Noon was written by Carl Foreman, a brilliant screenwriter whose career was about to be derailed by the 'Red Scare' of the 1950s, where dozens of actors, writers, directors and producers had their careers High Noon is certainly one of the most famous and admired Westerns in American film history. But according to Glenn Frankel's exhaustive (but never exhausting) account of the film's production, a lot of people don't even consider it a Western. Just ask John Wayne (if he was alive, that is). High Noon was written by Carl Foreman, a brilliant screenwriter whose career was about to be derailed by the 'Red Scare' of the 1950s, where dozens of actors, writers, directors and producers had their careers destroyed by having any association with the Communist party. There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of 'card carrying Communists' in the entertainment community; most, however, dabbled in Communism during the Depression and the war years, either quitting the party or just drifting away. But during the Red scare, any association with Communism was enough to destroy your career, even though being a Communist was not illegal. The paranoia over commies in Hollywood was so tremendous that careers were destroyed when cowardly Hollywood studios employed a blacklist to shut out former or unrepentant commies. (One completed film actually reshot the scenes of one actor accused of being a commie – sound familar?) Fans of old Hollywood and the history of the 1950s will find High Noon informative, fascinating and often infuriating.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Morton Grove Public Library

    Reviewed by Chad Comello, Adult Services Librarian Fascinating history of the famous Gary Cooper Wester High Noon and the fraught circumstances in which it was made during the infamous hollywood blacklist of the 1950s. Great for movie lovers and history buffs alike. Get this at MGPL: Book, E-Book Reviewed by Chad Comello, Adult Services Librarian Fascinating history of the famous Gary Cooper Wester High Noon and the fraught circumstances in which it was made during the infamous hollywood blacklist of the 1950s. Great for movie lovers and history buffs alike. Get this at MGPL: Book, E-Book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cool Papa

    The screenplay of this classic film was written by Carl Foreman who was one of those who had to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee and denounce Communism. He refused to name the names of others and, therefore, was “blacklisted” by former friends and associates. The film’s theme was left-wing, being about one man’s “courageous” stand (Carl Foreman) against the forces of evil (Congress) destroying his town when no one would stand with him. I’ll be honest, I always thought the The screenplay of this classic film was written by Carl Foreman who was one of those who had to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee and denounce Communism. He refused to name the names of others and, therefore, was “blacklisted” by former friends and associates. The film’s theme was left-wing, being about one man’s “courageous” stand (Carl Foreman) against the forces of evil (Congress) destroying his town when no one would stand with him. I’ll be honest, I always thought the film overrated but this book is well-written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Brilliant insights into the film itself, but the blacklist story has been told before. Many, many times before. Personally, I think Frank Miller and his gang are really the Manson family, and Gary Cooper's Sheriff Will Kane is really a portrait of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson! Brilliant insights into the film itself, but the blacklist story has been told before. Many, many times before. Personally, I think Frank Miller and his gang are really the Manson family, and Gary Cooper's Sheriff Will Kane is really a portrait of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I was impressed by how much I enjoyed this book. It starts a little slow when it focuses on the biographies of the main players but is at its best when it explores how each of the main artistic players felt inadequate in their careers post-High Noon. Excellent read and a must read for Hollywood historians and film buffs.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    High Noon told about how Hollywood and this particular movie were effected by the blacklist. The author did a tremendous amount of research which on one hand explained much but at other times slowed down the book. An excellent non-fiction book for those interested in that era.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Read after listening to the author interviewed on Fresh Air. Great account of Hollywood in the 40s and 50s through the accounts of the politically active and morally superior. Nice background on Gary Cooper and the making of the film.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James

    A very interesting and well-written account, blending movie-going with politics and American history!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aloysius

    A look at the fraught political environment in which the movie High Noon was made.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    Every bit as well written and thoroughly researched as his book on THE SEARCHERS. If you’re a devoted film fan, especially of westerns, you should read this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    F.C. Schaefer

    HIGH NOON is one of my favorite films, a movie I have adored since childhood, when I first watched the saga of Will Kane, a small town Sheriff in the Old West, challenged on his wedding day by Frank Miller, a killer he sent to prison years before, who has now been freed to seek his vengeance. While Miller’s gang wait at the station for him to arrive on the noon train, Kane seeks help from the townspeople, literally going hat in hand to friends and neighbors asking them to back him up when the ti HIGH NOON is one of my favorite films, a movie I have adored since childhood, when I first watched the saga of Will Kane, a small town Sheriff in the Old West, challenged on his wedding day by Frank Miller, a killer he sent to prison years before, who has now been freed to seek his vengeance. While Miller’s gang wait at the station for him to arrive on the noon train, Kane seeks help from the townspeople, literally going hat in hand to friends and neighbors asking them to back him up when the time comes to face Miller and his gang, but one by one, all of Will Kane’s friends desert him, each relationizing their own cowardice, leaving the Sheriff alone on an empty street to meet his fate. Even Kane’s young bride walks out on him because upholding him in a gunfight would violate her Quaker faith. It’s a great story, simply and well told, and the lessons it teaches are inescapable. I’ve watched HIGH NOON more than a dozen times, and like any true fan, I can recite lines of dialogue from memory right along with the actors, and know every word of Tex Ritter’s theme song by heart. But in Glenn Frankel’s book HIGH NOON: THE HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST AND THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN CLASSIC, I learned the story behind the film, one that is as dramatic as anything on the screen, a story filled with heroes and villains, and just plain flawed human beings. And I learned what every viewer of HIGH NOON has always known in their hearts, that it was not the just the story of a little western town named Hadleyville in the 1880’s, but of another small town much further west called Hollywood, and set in the middle of the 20th Century. It is the story of the rise and fall of American Communism, its influence, such as it was, from the idealistic days of the Great Depression, to World War II, when everyone was on the same side to defeat Fascism, to the early years of the Cold War, when the Red Menace turned American against American, as people who considered themselves true patriots waged a new war against a home grown enemy. The hero of Frankel’s book is Carl Foreman, a young man who came up in the film business in the 1940’s, gaining success as a scriptwriter after serving in WWII, and like many of his generation, was drawn to the Communist Party when it seemed like they were the only ones taking a stand against Hitler and supporting equal rights for all Americans. Never a very active member, Foreman drifted away from the Communist Party as he became more successful and the organization’s prominence declined in the post war period. Foreman went into a production partnership with the young producer, Stanley Kramer, who wanted to make important films about serious issues. Kramer owed one more film on an old contract with United Artists, and it was to be a western script Foreman had been working on and revising since the mid 40’s. Besides writing the script for HIGH NOON, Foreman handled most of the producer’s chores, being on set every day, and making most major and minor executive decisions, while Kramer was working on getting a multi film production deal up and going with Columbia Studios. Unfortunately for Foreman, he had just been fingered as a member of the Communist Party in testimony by a fellow writer before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which meant that he in turn would be called before the Committee, asked about his membership in the Party, and to name other Party members in an act of atonement. If he did not comply, he would face immediate blacklisting, making him unemployable in Hollywood. In short, Foreman refused to cooperate with the Committee, believing that his conscience wouldn’t let him rat out his fellow Party members – most of who, if not all, were already known to HUAC. For sticking to his guns, Carl Foreman was fired by his friend, Stanley Kramer, denied the producer’s credit he deserved, and ultimately forced to leave the country, working for most of the next 20 years in Great Britain. His marriage would fall apart, his writing would suffer, and his name would not appear in the credits of films he did write, one of whom, BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAII, would win an Oscar for Best Screenplay. The parallels between Carl Foreman and Will Kane are clear and unmistakable, and the irony is deep. What I really liked about this book was the deep dive in took into the Blacklist, and Graylist, years in Hollywood, how it came to be that a few opportunistic politicians, and their supporters created a true American reign of terror, driven by fear of a foreign enemy, one whose alien ideology was suspected of having hundreds of thousands of secret adherents in the United States. Frankel shows how HUAC far exceeded its authority, acting not as an investigative arm of Congress, but as a court of law, deciding guilt and meting out punishment, depriving those it found uncooperative of property and the ability to earn a living without anything resembling due process under the Constitution. In time, the Supreme Court would clip the committee’s wings, but by then, a tremendous amount of damage would be done, with lives and careers in ruins. What is also made clear is that the Blacklist would never have been possible if not for groups like then American Legion and the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a cabal of Hollywood super patriots, determined to kick each and every dirty Commie out of the business, and keep them out. Among them were more than a few who cracked under the fear, and threw their fellow Americans under the bus in order to keep on working. The resemblance between them and the good citizens of Hadleyville, not to mention Frank Miller and his gang, is also clear and unmistakable. Carl Foreman is not the only hero in Frankel’s book, for the Gary Cooper that emerges from the pages in one that very much jibes with the men he played on the screen. Though looking every bit of his 50 years when he signed on to play Will Kane, and with his stardom on the wane, Cooper gave the performance of his life in HIGH NOON, being so much better than Marlon Brando or Charlton Heston, who were considered for the part. The Cooper we meet in this book is a man who stands by his word, and his friends; though a lifelong conservative Republican, Cooper was so impressed with Carl Foreman that he offered to go into partnership with Foreman after Kramer gave him the boot, knowing that an association with a known Communist could have hurt his career. Frankel is honest about Cooper’s womanizing, especially his long affair with Patricia Neal; it is the low estimation of his own talent that is the real reveal in the book; Cooper never considered himself a great actor, and faulted himself for not improving his talent, saying so in an interview only months before his death in 1961. Frankel makes the case that Cooper’s “minimalist” acting in HIGH NOON is anything but, that in fact it is a deeply nuanced piece of work, conveying pain, fear, disappointment, and resolve, often in the same scene, and just as often, wordlessly. If there are heroes in this book, so are there villains, starting with Martin Berkeley, a scriptwriter who proudly gave up more than 150 of his colleagues to HUAC, among them Foreman’s. There are Alliance members Hedda Hopper, John Wayne, Ward Bond, and Roy Brewer who helped lead the witch hunts for Communists in their midst, along with the studio heads who were more than willing to light the match for this public burning. Both Hopper and Wayne publicly denounced Foreman after his HUAC testimony was deemed insufficient, yet he would patch things both of them in later years, pointedly shaking Wayne’s hand when he encountered The Duke at an LA restaurant in the 70’s, telling his family that he held no ill will because he considered Wayne a patriot, who, though mistaken, had done what he thought best for the country. It would be the former friend, Stanley Kramer, who had turned his back in a time of trouble, whom Carl Foreman would pointedly refuse to speak to when they came face to face years later. Wayne, for his part, would never tire of bad mouthing HIGH NOON for the rest of his life, considering it deeply un-American. I do wonder if, in his later years, when he was often defensive about his role in the Blacklisting of his fellow actors, Wayne’s true animus for the film came from the realization that in this real life story, many considered him either one of the cowardly citizens of Hadleyville, or even Frank Miller himself. Besides the all the politics, the other thing great about Frankel’s book is the pure Hollywood history it recounts. I love reading the details of the creative process, how Cooper took most of the casting budget, necessitating the hiring of supporting actors, like Thomas Mitchell and Lon Chaney Jr., for only a week’s work; how Mexican actress Katy Jurado, who played the awesome Helen Ramirez, Kane’s former mistress, was so new to English, that a character’s name had to be changed because she couldn’t pronounce it; the controversy over who “saved” the film in post production after it was deemed a “disaster” in post production. Film editor Elmo Williams would loudly take credit in later years, but so would Stanley Kramer, who had no small ego himself; Frankel presents the facts as best as they seen decades later and lets the reader decide. How Grace Kelly worried about the overacting she was doing her part as Kane’s young Quaker bride. I love the story of Dimitri Tiomkin, the Russian who became Hollywood’s master of writing music for American westerns, and how the immortal song, “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,” came to be, and how there were dueling versions on the radio at the same time by Tex Ritter and Frankie Laine. Caught in the middle of all this was the Austrian born director, Fred Zinneman, another immigrant who contributed to one of the most definitive American movies of all time. HIGH NOON the film is one of those unique movies that speaks across the political spectrum, championed by liberals and conservatives alike, becoming one of the most popular films worldwide. It lost the Best Picture Oscar in 1952 to the inferior THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, in no small part because of its connections to accused Communists, but in the hearts of Americans, and movie lovers in every foreign land, including those once ruled by Communists, it is even more beloved today than at the time of its release. There is something in this story of a frightened, but still brave, man, who shoulders the indignity of betrayal, and walks alone down a street to meet his fate, comforted only by the knowledge that he has done the right thing. Glenn Frankel’s book does this great movie justice, and tells us how it came to be. It is a must read for any movie lover.

  30. 4 out of 5

    EJ Johnson

    Read for a book club. I find the lives of celebrities to be disgusting so there were many parts of this book I didn’t like. Interesting to read of the Blacklist and see that the Hollywood community is doing it to themselves again with a different group.

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