Any chance we may have of a decent life in this world depends upon those who do what they are called to do regardless of the gain or the loss to themselves.
My mother is 92 and never watches movies. But when she broke her ankle last spring and spent 4 months in rehab, one day she started waxing nostalgic about a movie she and Dad loved when they were first married, and she asked me if there was any way she could watch it again. It was "High Noon". She and I watched it together in her little hospital room - it was the first time for me - and I was captivated. She will love reading this - I will print it off and share it with her.
The screen writer of this great movie was Carl Foreman. I didn't realize until I read an essay in the Wall Street Journal, "My Father, the Blacklist and 'High Noon,'" 9/15/23, by his daughter, Amanda, that her father wrote the script as an allegory on his experience with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). She writes that her father had been a member of the Communist Party early in his career. And when testifying before HUAC he stood virtually alone (like Gary Cooper's character) in refusing to name others in Hollywood who had likewise made the same mistake. Amanda also mentions a short documentary released in 2022, "High Noon On the Waterfront," which describes not only her father's travails, but also those of Elia Kazan, who directed "On the Waterfront."
Definitely one of the best, thank you! Yet we were so spoiled by cinematic riches in those days that it’s arguably not even the best pacifist-Quaker movie (I have a big soft spot for Friendly Persuasion…).
I am many times on the record as a big John Wayne fan, The Quiet Man is tied for my favorite film ever, so I promise the following comes not from hostility but from genuine puzzlement: can it possibly be true, as I’ve heard many a time, that Wayne hated this movie and thought it anti-American? It’s such a great, great movie, and as the best westerns are, a parable for us all, in this case as you say about the importance of a man doing his duty courageously in the midst of a crisis. Yet apparently Wayne was so mad about the portrayal of cowardly townsfolk - which he took literally? - that he made a whole movie in response!
Anyway, if that story is true, I think Wayne was terribly wrong. We see over and over again these days that the masses cower while one man is left to speak the truth. Thank you for being our brave town sheriff!