The clock ticks on. The train is scheduled to arrive at noon. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) desperately seeks backup to face four killers in a town filled with people unwilling to take a stand.
Another award-winning film, “High Noon,” has been selected by the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre for the May 4 offering in its Vintage Movie series.
This Western, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, won four Oscars, including one for Cooper as actor in a leading role and the familiar title song, “High Noon” (“Do Not Forsake Me, Oh, My Darlin’”) by classic film composer Dimitri Tiomkin and lyricist Ned Washington. Singing cowboy Tex Ritter sang it over the titles.
Will Kane and his bride Amy (Grace Kelly) have just married. He has resigned as town marshal because Amy has become a Quaker and forsaken violence. Just as they are leaving town the word comes that Frank Miller is out of prison and is arriving on the noon train for revenge on Kane and the town that sent him to prison. His brother Ben (Sheb Wooley) and two buddies, Jack (marvelously villainous Lee Van Cleef) and Jim (Robert J. Wilke) are already at the train station, armed and ready to back up the killer.
Even though the mayor (Thomas Mitchell) and other town leaders advise Kane to move on, he feels honor bound to pick up the badge and defend the town because he was the lawman who apprehended Miller. Kane mistakenly assumes that the people of the town will back him up, making an overwhelming force against the four gunmen. Wrong!
Not only do the cowardly townspeople let him down but his bride abandons him, too. Hence the song lyrics, “Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’, on this our wedding day.”
The film is packed with notable supporting performers. The top notch soundtrack echoes a classic Western sound. Gary Cooper was one of the favorite film cowboys. Grace Kelly is stunningly beautiful. The villains exude evil in their quiet menace. The black and white cinematography delights the eyes. There is much to appeal to the filmgoer in this classic. Best of all, it’s free.
Saturday night, May 4 at 7 p.m. all lovers of film classics and Western movies shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see “High Noon” on the big screen at the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre. Admission is free. Donations are graciously accepted and appreciated. More information is available at www.dobie-westtheatre.com.