Houston Matters

How The Classic Western ‘High Noon’ Clashed With The Anti-Communist Fervor Of The 1950s

Glenn Frankel discusses his book “High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.”

Gary Cooper in High Noon
Gary Cooper in a scene from the 1952 Western "High Noon."

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High Noon Book Cover

Tonight (March 1, 2017) at 7 at Brazos Bookstore, journalist Glenn Frankel will discuss his new book, called High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.

The book is about the classic Hollywood western High Noon, which, of course, stars Gary Cooper as a small-town sheriff who finds himself up against the clock, some bad guys and his own conscience.

It was released during the Hollywood blacklist and was penned by Carl Foreman, a former Communist who had to testify before the House Un-American Activities Commission as filming was taking place. Foreman ultimately saw it as a parable about the blacklist.

In the audio above, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with Frankel about this lesser-known aspect of what is today considered one of the great classics of the Western genre.

Then, area film critic Joe Leydon joins us to discuss other famous Westerns, which often sought to present lessons in morality. We also discuss why, in time, this popular genre fell out of favor in Hollywood.

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