Casting Dennis Weaver for this movie was a brilliant idea, by the way.
High Noon (2000 TV Movie)
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Casting Dennis Weaver for this movie was a brilliant idea, by the way.
Alright, so I grew up on the original -- but, it's still a classic!
I will admit that in the remake, some of the characters played their roles admirably: Tom Skerritt portrayed a viable Will Kane and Maria Conchita Alonso was superior as Mrs. Ramirez. Even Dennis Weaver was credible as Martin Howe, but I never felt for him and his circumstances the way I felt for Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1952 version. In fact, throughout the entire program, I never got to where I really cared for the characters as I did in the original.
Advance P.R. in the television guides said that the producers wanted a more "vicious" villain, and so cast Michael Madsen as Frank Miller. But, Madsen looks and acts more like Broderick Crawford in "The Highway Patrol" TV series than a villain in the old west. His twin nickel (or chrome) plated Remington revolvers did nothing to enhance the role for him.
In the 1952 version, Fred Zinnemann used a crane to back off and show the loneliness of Kane as he goes about the task before him. The director of the 2000 remake tries to do the same thing, but the effect is no where as dramatic. Something is missing.
In the final scene in the 1952 original, you can see Kane's contempt for the town on the face of Gary Cooper -- contempt for having been left alone, and abandoned. That emotion was totally lacking in the remake and so the ending is almost anti-climactic.
I was immediately stricken by the opening shot. The silhouettes of Frank Miller's gang against the desert sky was a beautiful image that impressed me right out of the gate. Unfortunately, it became all too apparent that it was made for television, using the many simple, money-saving camera techniques seen in many made-for-TV movies. Aside from that, something just seemed missing from this film, and I just can't put my finger on it. It didn't have the spirit of the original film, nor did it involve me emotionally as the 1952 version did. The aforementioned gunfights were very well-filmed, and a tad bit more exciting than the original, but due to the emotional content, they were much less engaging. Still, though, it was an enjoyable movie.
The remake's cast labors nobly to recreate the story, but the camera work and score are missing. For example, the famous crane shot showing Will Kane absolutely alone on the dusty street is not there. It isn't essential, but that shot is part of what makes the original HIGH NOON what it is as a classic. In addition, while the score does express the moods, it is nevertheless conventional.
It was an interesting effort, but of necessity it fails in comparison to the original.
Michael Madsen is the definitive bad man. It is too bad his time on screen is so limited.
For what it is, this is a dandy and should be seen & enjoyed by all. Just don't think it will be taking over for the original! No way!
Skerritt plays just-retired, just-married Marshal Will Kane. He and his bride are informed that a man Kane put in the slammer years ago has been paroled; this owlhoot swore he'd kill Kane when he got out and he's coming in on the noon train. His henchmen are even waiting for him at the train station. Kane and his bride are encouraged to flee for their lives and start their new life together. Why not? -- he's not even a sheriff anymore. But the new Marshal won't arrive for another day or so and something in Kane prevents him from running like a cur with his tail between his legs. He has about an hour and fifteen minutes to marshal up help to make a stand. In addition to all this, his wife is a Quaker who doesn't believe in violence and threatens to leave him if he insists on staying and fighting.
One interesting facet of this Western is that the story plays out in real time. The film runs 88 minutes and Marshal Kane has just over an hour to prepare for the confrontation.
Skerritt does a good job depicting an aging man who is about to face a fight-to-the-death, most likely alone. I'm sure Marshal Kane has better things to do, like enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife (Sussanna Thompson), but his manhood and sense of duty force him to courageously make a stand. This reminds me of times back in High School where I was scheduled to fight someone (after school or whatever). I knew at such-and-such time I was going to face so-and-so and a bunch of people would be watching. The anticipation wasn't fun but my manhood wouldn't let me back down. Of course there's no comparison since Marshal Kane is anticipating a gunfight wherein he could very likely die, not a mere fistfight, but if the anticipation before a fistfight is intense, how much more so a gunfight?
Some criticize the story of "High Noon" on the grounds that it makes the citizens of the average Western town out to be a bunch of cowards but, really, there are no less than four people who are willing to help the Marshal. Many of the others who decline have valid reasons for staying out of the fracas, although some are just plain yella.
Since Kane's new wife is a Quaker the film brings up the idea of total pacifism. While the idea is attractive and I understand her reasoning, total pacifism does not work in this present world. The New Testament does not support the idea of absolute pacifism. It teaches, rather, that pacifism is proper in certain situations and not in others. Jesus' ministry team had a treasury box with loads of money and some of his workers carried swords for protection from thieves and murderers. Also, Romans 13 clearly states that the righteous laws of human governments are God-ordained for the purpose of punishing criminals, including the right to execute when appropriate. Even in cases where pacifism is called for a disciple is not to idly sit on his/her rump but to fight on a spiritual level and overcome evil with good. The vast majority of sane Christians realize this, but there are a few extremists who refuse to be BALANCED with the Scriptures on this subject and insist that conflict and especially armed conflict is NEVER appropriate. Kane's wife in the film is such a person, but perhaps she'll discover the error of her beliefs. In any case, "High Noon" makes an important point: Some people are so morally degenerate and evil that execution is the only just ultimate reaction (notice I said "ultimate").
There are quite a few good parts, e.g. Kane's brief talk with the wife of a coward, the church scene and, of course, the ending gunfight.
As for comparisons to the original film, I have no bias or nostalgia. It's been years since I saw it (the '52 version) so it's not fresh in my memory, but I don't see how this remake pales in comparison as many of the reviewers here contend. This rendition is in color, has a good score, good actors and locations (CL Ranch, Calgary, Alberta). What more do you want? It may not have the cinematic pizazz of modern Theatrical Westerns but, if given the choice between the two, I'd probably choose Skerritt's version over the original. Besides, I loathe black & white.
So, why not a higher rating? Despite the story's potential and the anticipation of the gunfight, something prevents "High Noon" (both versions) from being truly captivating. In fact, it almost has a laid-back vibe. Needless to say, those with ADHD should avoid like the plague. Don't get me wrong, I love great drama and intelligent dialogue-driven stories but something needed done to make it a bit more engrossing and emotionally stirring. Still, this is a very worthwhile Western.
As a Western, this movie may indeed work, but that's it..
Gary Cooper's hound dog manliness made this movie for me....
I do plan to watch this up to-date version when I can get a copy.
I want to see how it differ's from the original in any other ways.?
The ending in the original when all the towns folk came out from behind their shops and houses as the frightened cowards they were, angered me and put a lump in my throat, then Gary Cooper through his tin star in the dust and walked away with his wife, made me weep inside. Although English in England, I feel America is very much like this today, people just dont care about anybody else.
Cinema is all about creating 'moments' for fans. For one of the best moments in cinematic history - in my opinion - please have a look at the scene in the original, where Cooper asks for help, between Gary Cooper and Lon Chaney Jnr. Some people said that Chaney wasn't really an actor - he was!! This scene proves it. I also think Katy Jurado is more of a firecracker than Maria Alonso. Classics are hard to remake - this 2000 version tries hard.
This remake of High Noon is another good western with a big build up that delivers with Gladiator-like camra work and is arguably better than its predecessor. Tom Skerritt, Dennis Weaver, Michael Madsen, and Maria Conchita Alonso. All was good and Maria looked great! Michael Madsen played the bad guy really well. Good remake and if you are a fan of the original then you`ll love this!