28 June 2006 | evanston_dad
Film Editing 101
"High Noon" is a text book on how to edit a film brilliantly, but it's awfully cold and impersonal as a movie. It creates a tremendous amount of suspense, but the whole movie is gimmick, and the suspense is empty. As most people know, it takes place in "real time," so there are lots of cut aways to clocks underscored with thumping music, and montages of reaction shots of all the principal characters looking pensive. But stripped of its novelty after a first viewing and the fact that its gimmicks have been ransacked countless times by other movies over the years, there isn't much to revisit.
I suspect Gary Cooper's acclaim in this role came from people who were tickled to see an iconic movie actor playing an iconic movie type, rather than because he created a flesh-and-blood human being that anybody really cared about. He's not required to do much but look resigned and stoic, which to his credit he does well. But I don't know how much of a PERFORMANCE it is.
It's cool to like "High Noon" because it's been interpreted as an attack on McCarthyism, but that's not enough to make the film relevant today. It's certainly not a bad movie, and I get why it's viewed as an important one. Movies like "High Noon" are necessary, because they introduce new ways of doing things and add new phrases to film language. It's just that, with some historical perspective, it's obvious that it wears its schematics on its sleeve.