Here are some High Noon set photos I’ve never seen before except for the last one (i.e., after the jump). I have a dream that the swaggering Rio Bravo cultists will eventually run out of steam or lose interest and admit that Howard Hawks‘ 1959 film, which has been called a much richer creation than High Noon by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Peter Bogdanovich and Jean Luc Godard, is a decent but moderate effort, an easy-going “friends sitting around and shooting the shit in a jailhouse as they prepare to fight the bad guys” movie, and that High Noon will bounce back and be once again recognized as a timeless classic, as it was when it first appeared in the early Eisenhower years and for many years following.
Here, once again, is my 7.27.07 Rio Bravo vs. High Noon essay:
“Does Rio Bravo have a sequence that equals the gripping metronomic ticking-clock montage near the end of High Noon? No.
“Is the dialogue in Rio Bravo up to the better passages in Zinneman’s film? No. (There’s nothing close to the scene between Gary Cooper and Lon Chaney, Jr., or the brief one between Cooper and Katy Jurado.)
“Is there a moment in Rio Bravo that comes close to Cooper throwing his tin star into the dust at the end? No.
“Is there a ‘yes!’ payoff moment in Rio Bravo as good as the one in High Noon when Grace Kelly, playing a Quaker who abhors violence, drills one of the bad guys in the back? No.
“Floyd Crosby‘s High Noon photography is choice and precise and gets the job done. It doesn’t exactly call attention to itself, but it’s continually striking and well-framed. To me, the black-and-white images have always seemed grittier and less Hollywood ‘pretty’ than Russell Harlan‘s lensing in Rio Bravo, which I would file under ‘pleasing and acceptable but no great shakes.’
“Dimitri Tomkin wrote the scores for both High Noon and Rio Bravo, but they don’t exist in the same realm. The Bravo score is settled and kindly, a sleepy, end-of-the-day campfire score. High Noon‘s is strong, pronounced, ‘dramatic’ — so clear and unified it’s like a character in itself. And I’ve never gotten over the way the rhythm in that Tex Ritter song, ‘Do Not Forsake Me O My Darling,’ sounds like a heartbeat.”