And so classic November enters the 1950’s. It took us quite a while to knock out the first movie because a) there are only a few I haven’t seen already (though that wasn’t part of the official criteria, and b) we’re having a hard time finding them available for streaming. Ben-Hur looked like a good candidate–I haven’t seen it, it was made in 1959, and we could rent it on Amazon for a couple bucks. But it’s so looooong. Three and half hours! Gunny would never have stayed awake for that. Another contender (ha) was On the Waterfront, but I wasn’t paying 10 bucks to download it. There are THREE amazing Hitchcock films on the list for the ’50s (though not on Netflix!) and Gunny hasn’t seen any of them. I’ve seen them probably a dozen times each. I was the girl in the theater during Basic Instinct who yelled “Vertigo rip-off!”
ANYWAY, knowing we’re terribly behind this month we methodically typed movie titles into Netflix search and decided on High Noon, the classic Western. Here’s the premise: Marshall Gary Cooper marries Grace Kelly who is a Quaker. This does not mean you can only eat oatmeal, Quakers are absolutely committed to peace and non-violence. Long story short (or is it already too late for that?) if you marry a Quaker, ya gotta give up your guns and your tin star. Gary Cooper’s down with that–and is on his way to catch the noon train to another town to run a store. Only someone is coming to town on that same train–outlaw Frank Miller–and his brother and partners in crime are at the station waiting for him. Gary has a dilemma on his hands: leave the town in danger, or piss off his new wife and face the man he sent to prison.
Meh. Gary Cooper is great at Gary Coopering, but I don’t see much conflict or emotion in his eyes. Plus, I just couldn’t help wondering what was up Grace Kelly’s ass. I get that she agreed to marry him under the condition that he give up his gun and badge in accordance with her Quaker beliefs. But leaving people to die? Abandoning her husband of ten minutes when he’s trying to do the right thing? Get over yourself, Princess. I know she’s Grace Kelly and all, but I thought Mrs. Ramirez (played by Katy Jurado)–who was Frank Miller’s girl before she dated Gary Cooper and then after him one of Gary’s deputies, which makes her a big whore in comparison to virginal perfect asshole Grace–was more beautiful and interesting by far. Most annoying though, was the townsfolk who gave zero shits if their town was overrun with criminals. There’s probably some underlying message about apathy and the threat of communism–this being 1952 and all–but I just wanted to kick all their teeth in. The ending was so abrupt, I was startled. But as there was little enjoyment to be had, it was a relief that it was over.
OK, so hopping back in to the November Classic, we pick up with High Noon. I didn’t find it to be a great movie, but a good movie overall. But I only say that because I was entertained by it, despite all the plot holes and weird dynamics of the movie. I seriously think that you could do a Mystery Science Theater or Rifftrax on this movie with little effort. For example, why would you be ok with burning down a barn with horses in it in order to get to the Marshall, but not OK with shooting the horses to stop him from getting away. The movie is full of stuff like this that would cause you to pull out the rest of your hair if you actually took it too seriously. Thankfully, I didn’t. Good and entertaining, with some slightly annoying acting. Watch it to say you watched an American classic, but not a movie to watch a second time.