High Noon is both one of the most enduring and most misunderstood of American movie classics. Leftist film critics have lauded it as a thinly veiled allegory against McCarthyism, yet Ronald Reagan cited it as his favorite film. Today, Fred Zinnemann's Western is best understood as a simple yet powerful paean to individual moral integrity. It still works like gangbusters due to its strict adherence to the three classical unities (time, place and action) and Gary Cooper's Oscar-winning performance as the sheriff abandoned by his town as four gunmen gather to kill him. It's the culmination of Laemmle's Anniversary Classics Western Weekend, running Aug. 18-20.
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