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Westerns as Morality Plays: High Noon and the Hollywood Blacklist

Westerns as Morality Plays: High Noon and the Hollywood Blacklist

High Noon - Gary Cooper(Above: Gary Cooper in a scene from the 1952 Western “High Noon.”)

High Noon Book CoverTonight (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. We talk 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.

About the Author

Abner Fletcher

Abner FletcherAbner Fletcher is a multimedia producer for Houston Matters and Houston Public Media.View all posts by Abner Fletcher →