High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, by Glenn Frankel
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 and became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favourite 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. Examined in light of Foreman's testimony, HighNoon's emphasis on courage and loyalty takes on deeper meaning and importance.
This book 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.
“Frankel reviews the now familiar history of the blacklist with grace and accuracy; his descriptions of witness testimony are particularly vivid. . . . Fascinating.” - The Los Angeles Times
“The movie ‘High Noon,’ great in itself, is all the greater for the backstory Mr. Frankel tells.” - The Wall Street Journal