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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
High Noon (1952)

"I won't be here when it's over. You're asking me to wait an hour to see if I'll be a wife or widow. I say it's too long to wait. I won't do it."
- Mrs. Will Kane (Grace Kelley)

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: April 27, 2000

Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelley
Other Stars: Lloyd Bridges
Director: Fred Zinnemann

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01H:25M:00S
Release Date: June 26, 1998
UPC: 017153348620
Genre: western

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Forced by conscience to return to the town he has suddenly fled, newlywed Will Kane, just retired U.S. Marshall, turns his horse driven cart around to prepare for a noon battle with murderer Frank Miller, a man he sent to prison five years earlier. Miller, it seems, has had his death sentence first commuted to life, then rescinded via pardon up in the North. "They're making me run. I've never run from anyone before," says Kane to his unbelieving new bride, played by the then virtually unknown but effervescent, Grace Kelley.

When his deputies and friends desert him, Kane, played by Gary Cooper in his Oscar®-winning performance, is forced to face the Miller gang alone. It is in cinematographer (and David's father) Floyd Crosby's upward craning camera shot that Kane's isolation becomes indelibly imbedded in one's memory. The writer, Carl Foreman, saw this film as a parable for those being deserted by their Hollywood friends in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare of the early 50s, reports Leonard Maltin in the making-of featurette. Producer Stanley Kramer adds that this morality play of a man facing a crisis of conscience was even considered un-American and immoral by some who went as far as picketing theaters at the time.I can remember groaning the day I was first forced to watch High Noon for a film theory class. But this was not a normal western—not for its time—neither was its protagonist. This was the era of the true blue John Wayne westerns, where the hero's bravery was never doubted. So here, when his hot-headed deputy, Harvey Kapel (played by Lloyd Bridges), asks him if he's scared, Kane, contemplating escaping to safety before Miller arrives, replies "I guess so." It must have taken the 1952 audience back as much as it did me. All of one's preconceived notions of what a Western's hero should be made one think that this man was not worthy of such status. On the other hand, it was easier, almost comforting, to identify with a hero that was just an ordinary man—one with fears and self-doubt just like one's self. Or, as Kapel says in reply to Kane, "It stands to reason."

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Frank Zinneman's masterpiece High Noon, winner of four Academy Awards®, has not been fully restored as it deserves, but still has never looked better. This is a very well preserved print of a movie fast approaching its fiftieth anniversary. Although there are a few scenes by the railway station where the background and sky are nearly bleach white, the majority of the scenes retain excellent black-and-white contrast and contain very few nicks, scars or pluming. Presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio, there is very little aliasing distortion or noticeable pixelation.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French and Spanish monoyes

Audio Transfer Review: High Noon is probably as good as this basic THX-certified Dolby Digital 2.0 track could get considering the age of the source. It is basically a monaural mix, which sounds canned through a good proportion of the film, and at its worst when it becomes harsh and tinny as the clocks finally strike noon. The background theme song sung by John Ritter's dad, Tex, may be the best part of the soundtrack, which coincidentally won him an Academy Award®.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French and Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: This one-sided picture disc comes with an animated chapter index, an original theatrical trailer, languages (English, French and Spanish) and the aforementioned 22-minute "making-of" featurette hosted by Leonard Maltin. Despite Maltin's hokey manner, the featurette is entertaining and informational.

The biggest surprise was the rare Artisan inclusion of subtitles, and that only because this is a rehash of a prior Republic Pictures disc.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

As opposed to the bare bones Republic discs Artisan is streeting (Tender Mercies, Plenty, Frances), this one deserves the retail price tag, being that it contains both bottom line necessities and nice special features as well. Don't miss the opportunity to grab this classic and park it in your holster.


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