×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
     

High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

by Glenn Frankel
 

See All Formats & Editions

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created.

It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High

Overview

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created.

It's one of the most revered movies of Hollywood's golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirty-two days but achieved instant box-office and critical success. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Cooper. And it became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude.

Yet what has been often overlooked is that High Noon was made during the height of the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal. In the middle of the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was forced to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his former membership in the Communist Party. Refusing to name names, he was eventually blacklisted and fled the United States. (His co-authored screenplay for another classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, went uncredited in 1957.) Examined in light of Foreman's testimony, High Noon's emphasis on courage and loyalty takes on deeper meaning and importance.

In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, exploring how Carl Foreman's concept of High Noon evolved from idea to first draft to final script, taking on allegorical weight. Both the classic film and its turbulent political times emerge newly illuminated.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Film historian Glenn Frankel profiles the times, the movie and its message in his fascinating and revealing new book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic . . . Frankel--who previously uncovered the backstory of the classic John Wayne movie 'The Searchers'--says the blacklist marked a uniquely grim time in American history, one with special resonance today." - Christian Science Monitor

"Not far removed from a James Ellroy novel. The 1950s film industry portrayed in High Noon is, like Ellroy's Los Angeles, stocked with hard-core commies, idealistic fellow travelers, paranoid Red-baiters, union busters, corrupt congressmen, power-hungry gossip columnists, secretive FBI agents and their snitches, philandering actors and eager starlets. But far from being a Hollywood Babylon of the Red Scare, Frankel's book is a detailed investigation of the way anti-communist persecution poisoned the atmosphere around one film, which succeeded nonetheless, and damaged the lives of the people who made it." - Bookforum

"So much has been written about the blacklist's perpetrators and victims that you might be forgiven for thinking you know all there is worth knowing, but Frankel offers new details and fresh insights. His portrait of Gary Cooper's life and career is equally incisive . . . It will almost surely stand as the definitive document about this landmark movie. I can't wait to see what subject this skilled journalist will tackle next." - Leonard Maltin

"Glenn Frankel has endowed the term ‘film historian’ with a sweeping new dimension. High Noon is full of scholarly insight, compelling history and wonderfully dishy moments, but like his previous book on The Searchers it is also an American chronicle of real consequence. When Frankel writes about the making of a movie he is writing about the making of a country." - Stephen Harrigan, author of THE GATES OF THE ALAMO and A FRIEND OF MR. LINCOLN

"Glenn Frankel's High Noon isn't just everything you always wanted to know about an enduring classic; it's a deeply insightful portrait of the forces in postwar America and in blacklist-era Hollywood that made the film such a powerful product of such a troubled moment." - Mark Harris, author of PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION and FIVE CAME BACK

"Glenn Frankel's High Noon is three splendid books in one: a moment by moment account of the making of the classic western, a history of the Hollywood blacklist with much new material based on primary research, and, in the rise of Stanley Kramer Productions, the story of the independent producers who gradually supplanted conventional studio production. Even if we know how each story ends, it's never less than a continuously fascinating read." - Scott Eyman, author of JOHN WAYNE: THE LIFE AND LEGEND

"Besides the macro picture of Hollywood in its darkest era, Frankel is excellent at capturing the micro aspects as well, fascinatingly weaving in multiple and competing accounts of how the film was pieced together in the editing room. . . A comprehensive guide to both a classic film and the era that created it." - Kirkus Reviews

"This may be one of the most accessible books ever written concerning the effects of HUAC on Hollywood, as Frankel's decision to blend these two aspects of Hollywood history, and his innate skill as a journalist, has produced a highly readable and fascinating look at a period that is less widely known than one might imagine. VERDICT: Anyone interested in film and/or politics will enjoy and learn from this book." - Library Journal

"Vivid, revelatory." - J. Hoberman, The New York Times Book Review on THE SEARCHERS

"Fascinating." - Martin Scorsese, The Hollywood Reporter on THE SEARCHERS

"[A] towering achievement." - Leonard Maltin, IndieWire on THE SEARCHERS

"Excellent, engrossing . . . A definitive account." - Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal on THE SEARCHERS

Library Journal
01/01/2017
Much has been written about Hollywood's blacklist era of the 1940s and 1950s, but seldom has it been explored through the story of one particular film. According to Frankel (The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend), the 1952 film High Noon is not simply a landmark production of style and substance but an allegorical statement about the times in which it was created. This book shuttles back and forth between a highly focused study of the film, Gary Cooper, and screenwriter Carl Foreman, and an informed and revealing examination of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the many people in Hollywood who were affected by, or acted on behalf of, that committee. This may be one of the most accessible books ever written concerning the effects of HUAC on Hollywood, as Frankel's decision to blend these two aspects of Hollywood history, and his innate skill as a journalist, has produced a highly readable and fascinating look at a period that is less widely known than one might imagine. VERDICT Anyone interested in film and/or politics will enjoy and learn from this book.—Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA
Kirkus Reviews
2016-12-14
Courage under the gun, in both art and life.In this history, Pulitzer Prize winner Frankel (The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, 2013, etc.) tells the story of the well-known 1952 Western that became virtually an allegory of its own making. High Noon, in which Gary Cooper plays a lawman who has to face a gang of killers alone after he is deserted by his friends and town folk, was made in the thick of the Hollywood blacklisting era, when former or current Communists were dragged before the House Un-American Activities Committee and forced to choose between naming names or kissing their careers goodbye. High Noon entered this fray as kind of an ideological Trojan horse, a story of integrity under assault, written, produced, and directed by a team of socially committed liberals and starring the staunchly Republican Cooper. The book's key figure is writer Carl Foreman, who at the time of production was under fire for his refusal to play ball with HUAC, a standoff that would last until well after the film was finished. At its heart, the book is the story, through one man's experience, of how HUAC shaped destinies, as Foreman's contretemps with HUAC threatened production and fractured his relationships with director Fred Zinnemann, producer Stanley Kramer, and numerous associates. (Cooper, to his credit, rarely let politics get in the way of his friendship with Foreman or with making a good movie.) Besides the macro picture of Hollywood in its darkest era, Frankel is excellent at capturing the micro aspects as well, fascinatingly weaving in multiple and competing accounts of how the film was pieced together in the editing room. The author is occasionally overly worshipful, as well as repetitious, in his appraisal of the film, but he can't be faulted for lack of thoroughness or research. A comprehensive guide to both a classic film and the era that created it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620409503
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
02/21/2017
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
718
File size:
10 MB

Meet the Author

Glenn Frankel worked for many years for the Washington Post, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1989, and taught journalism at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he directed the School of Journalism. He has won the National Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His most recent book, The Searchers, was a national bestseller and named one of Library Journal's top ten books of 2013. He lives in Arlington, Virginia. www.glennfrankel.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews