"High Noon" is the classic western movie about a marshall facing down four badmen alone after the townsmen refuse to help him. Although it has a western setting, it could have easily been most any other locale because the psychological and social aspects are the important themes, not the old West, or riding horses. Made during the time of McCarthy and the Communist witch hunt, many have read political undertones into the movie.
A seemingly unusual cast includes Gary Cooper ("Sergeant York", "Pride of the Yankees") as the good-guy out-going marshall, Grace Kelly ("Rear Window") as his new wife, Lloyd Bridges ("Sea Hunt", "Airplane") as the deputy, Lee Van Cleef (the "bad" of "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly") as one silent badguy, Lon Chaney ("The Wolfman"), and Henry Morgan ("MASH").
The movie proceeds in nearly real time - it starts about 10:30 AM and ends shortly after noon - and clocks are increasingly prominent in nearly every scene. The leader of the badmen, Frank Miller, who was sent to prison by the marshall under a death sentence but was released, is now coming to town on the noon train to kill marshall Kane. Three of his friends are waiting at the station to greet and assist him in killing the marshall. That same morning, Kane is getting married to a violence-abhoring Quaker woman and is going to give up being marshall because of it. After learning Frank Miller is coming to town, the wife convinces Cane to essentially skip town and they leave, but the marshall gets his sense of duty back and returns to town. He and his wife argue, and she is determined to leave on the noon train. The judge also packs his things and leaves town. The marshall's deputy also quits. Kane goes around town trying to organize a posse, but only one capable man volunteers (the other is a one-eyed drunk) but he subsequently backs out.
Cane is forced to face the men alone. I won't spoil the ending.
At a time when movies (even bad ones) were being made in color, "High Noon" was shot in black-and-white, trying to get an unglamorous look to it modeled after Matthew Brady's photographs of the civil war, and succeeds. There is no beautiful sky and clouds, or cactus and sunsets. It is great cinematography however. Oscars for Best Actor, Editing, Song and Score.
Reasonably-priced DVD picture and sound are good. It has an average commentary by daughter of actor, son of singer, son of writer and son of director. Also has a short documentary, a fair behind-the-scenes, and a 5-plus minute radio interview with singer Tex Ritter.