BOONE, NC – The Classic Western Film Series at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country continues at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, when legendary actor Gary Cooper headlines an all-star cast in the four-time Academy Award-winning movie, “High Noon.” The 1952 western was produced by Stanley Kramer from a screenplay by Carl Foreman and directed by Fred Zinnemann.
The plot, which occurs in real time, centers on town marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) who is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the townspeople turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.
Other prominent actors in the film classic are Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr., Harry Morgan, Ian MacDonald, Eve McVeagh, and Morgan Farley. Though mired in controversy at the time of its release due to its political themes, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Actor, Editing, Score, and Song, as well as four Golden Globe Awards for Actor, Supporting Actress, Score, and Black and White Cinematography. The multiple award-winning score was written by Ukrainian-born composer Dimitri Tiomkin.
John Wayne was originally offered the lead role in the film but refused it because he believed that Foreman’s story was an obvious allegory against blacklisting, which he actively supported. Later, he told an interviewer that he would “never regret having helped run Foreman out of the country.” Gary Cooper was Wayne’s longtime friend and shared his conservative political views; Cooper had been a “friendly witness” before House Committee on Un-American Activities but did not implicate anyone as a suspected Communist, and he later became a vigorous opponent of blacklisting.
Ironically, Cooper won an Academy Award for his performance, and since he was working in Europe at the time, he asked Wayne to accept the Oscar on his behalf. Although Wayne’s contempt for the film and refusal of its lead role were well known, he said, “I’m glad to see they’re giving this to a man who is not only most deserving but has conducted himself throughout the years in our business in a manner that we can all be proud of. Now that I’m through being such a good sport, I’m going back to find my business manager and agent to find out why I didn’t get ‘High Noon’ instead of Cooper.”
“High Noon” was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the first 25 films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry (NFR) for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 1989, the NFR’s first year of existence. An iconic film whose story has been partly or completely repeated in later film productions, its ending has inspired numerous later films, including but not just limited to westerns.
The screening of “High Noon” begins promptly at 7 p.m. Note that films @TheApp are shown without trailers, so please arrive a few minutes before the listed start time to secure tickets and purchase concessions. The general admission ticket price is just $5 per person. The running time of the movie is one hour, twenty-five minutes.
One film remains on the Classic Western Film Series this month. “Tombstone” (1993) will be screened on Tuesday, November 22. The entire series is sponsored by local film enthusiast and theatre trustee Chris Petti with selections chosen from hundreds of suggestions made by audience members and the general public.
While the App Theatre’s online ticketing system is accessible 24/7, customers can avoid the online service fees by visiting the lobby box office between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday, or one hour prior to showtime for each film. For a complete performance schedule of all upcoming events, or to sign up for the theatre’s e-blast distribution list, visit the organization’s website at www.apptheatre.org