Made in 1951, "High Noon" rapidly became one of the most celebrated and controversial Hollywood dramas of the postwar period. A grave, taut western about community and violence, "High Noon" collected a clutch of Oscars, helped to re-establish the dwindling fortunes of its star, Gary Cooper, and confirmed the stature of director Fred Zinnemann and producer Stanley Kramer.The film was also a flashpoint for the conflict between the U.S. film industry and McCarthyite anti-Communist: writer and associate producer Carl Foreman was hounded off the production and blacklisted. Phillip Drummond offers a detailed account of "High Noon's" troubled production and its early public reception, along with career summaries of the key participants. He analyzes the dramatic organization of the film with close reference to the original short story and Carl Foreman's script, and concludes with an invaluable overview of the long history of critical debates, focusing on questions of social identity and gender. The result is a fresh, nuanced reading of a major classic.
"Rio Bravo" forms a loose trilogy with "Only Angels Have Wings" (1939) and "To Have and Have Not" (1944), which treats key Hawks themes of self-respect and friendship with exquisite subtlety, comedy and tenderness. "Rio Bravo", however, is the definitive rendition of these themes. For Robin Wood, it may be the greatest American film, the epitome of the collaborative art of the studio system, characterized by marvellous performances from Hollywood legends and relative newcomers alike; and by Hawks's complete understanding of classical filmmaking techniques.
John Ford's masterpiece "The Searchers" (1956) was rated fifth greatest film of all time in "Sight and Sound's" most recent poll of critics. Its influence on many of America's most distinguished contemporary filmmakers - among them Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and John Milius - is enormous. Edward Buscombe provides a detailed commentary on all aspects of the film, and makes full use of material in the John Ford archive in Indiana, including Ford's own memos and the original script, which differs in vital respects from the film he made.
Shedding new light on an old favorite, this is an enjoyable account of how "Stagecoach "was made. This book combines a with a careful scene-by-scene analysis, a wealth of illustrations and the most complete credits yet assembled.