High Noon: Oscar-Winning Western Arrives on 4K Ultra HD

Gary Cooper in High Noon. Courtesy of Paramount.

The multiple Oscar-winning High Noon is finally available for fans to witness the classic Western showdown on 4K Ultra HD.

High Noon makes its arrival on 4K UHD by way of Kino Lorber Studio Classics. It has a brand new HDR/Dolby Vision master from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. Let me tell you that the film looks and sounds pristine as it has ever been. I gave thought to doing a rewatch for the 70th anniversary in 2022 but I’m glad that I waited. You know what they say? Patience is a virtue. Anyway, this is not the typical Western film. Instead, it’s a morality play–one that stands in for HUAC targeting Communist Party members, especially in Hollywood. And yet, neither producer Stanley Kramer nor director Fred Zinnemann–whose parents were murdered during the Holocaust–saw it as a political film.

Gary Cooper has never been better than his Oscar-winning role of Marshal Will Kane. When the film starts, Kane is marrying Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). His plan is to retire and join her. Unfortunately, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is now out on parole and heading for Hadleyville. The Kanes initially rush out of town but Will second guesses the decision. After coming back, Kane tries finding people that would help but nobody rises up to the challenge. Deputy Marshal Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges) resigns because he still is not happy about not getting the Marshal job. Nobody at Ramírez’s Saloon and the church want to get involved. Herb Baker says yes to being a deputy but backs out upon realizing he is the only one. As such, it’s Kane facing off against Miller and his posse. Their showdown would result in one of the best showdowns in cinematic history.

The film is told in real time. Even though it’s being told in real time, it’s not a film being told through one continuous shot. The clocks only reinforce the nature of its storytelling in real time. They remind us how long it is until the climax takes place. It’s a beauty of watching the film. Elmo Williams and Harry W. Gerstad deserved their Oscars for editing the film. As a side note, Williams was not happy about having to share the Oscar at the time.

Zinnemann collaborates with cinematographer Floyd Crosby. They give it more of a newsreel look than that of a typical Western. It’s a big factor in why they chose not to film it in color. One can tell the difference when watching this film next to any of John Ford’s Westerns. Crosby captures many close-ups of Cooper, usually showing him with sweat. Zinnemann told George Stevens Jr. that High Noon is “a picture about conscience. It’s not a Western, as far as I’m concerned–it just happens to be set in the Old West.” The filmmaker’s own background as a documentary filmmaker certainly adds to his own style as a “social realist.”

Beyond it being a real-time film, the film is also a message movie. Of course, it is a message movie written by a screenwriter who would find himself on the Hollywood Blacklist. Screenwriter Carl Foreman injects real dialogue into the script. In real life, Foreman became much like Kane in the film…in isolation. Producer Stanley Kramer had zero knowledge of Foreman being a member of the Communist Party. Foreman would keep his screenplay credit but Kramer removed the writer’s producer credit. Kramer would play a role in breaking the Blacklist later on but for the time being, Foreman was on his own. Their own partnership dissolved and High Noon itself would face boycotts.

Foreman’s views are a key factor in staunch anti-communist John Wayne turning down the role. Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Charlton Heston would also turn it down. Gary Cooper–a right-wing conservative and friendly witness–gets the last laugh here because he was out of town during the Oscars. As luck would have it, Wayne would accept the Oscar for Best Actor on Cooper’s behalf.

Musically speaking, there’s no fanfare kicking off the film. Instead, it is Tex Ritter singing “The Ballad of High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’). Dimitri Tiomkin wrote the music while Ned Washington penned the lyrics. It’s a catchy film and recurs throughout the film either with the vocals or a motif underscoring a scene. Tiomkin’s work on the film would lead to composing more Western scores.

In addition to Best Actor and Film Editing, the film would also win Oscars for Original Score and Original Song. The film also earned nominations for Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. If it were up to me, Best Picture would have gone to High Noon instead of The Greatest Show on Earth.

High Noon is not only one of the best Western films of all time but changed the way people viewed the Western genre.

Product Extras:


  • Brand NEW HDR/Dolby Vision Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Author/Film Historian Alan K. Rode
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Writer Julie Kirgo
  • Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc
  • Optional English Subtitles


  • Brand NEW HD Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Author/Film Historian Alan K. Rode
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Writer Julie Kirgo
  • A Ticking Clock: Featurette(5:53)
  • A Stanley Kramer Production: Featurette (14:00)
  • Imitation of Life – The Blacklist History of High Noon: Featurette (9:27)
  • Ulcers and Oscars – The Production History of High Noon: Featurette (12:02)
  • Uncitizened Kane: Featurette (11:01)
  • The Making of High Noon: Featurette (22:11)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
  • Optional English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Fred Zinnemann
CAST: Gary Cooper, with Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Henry Morgan, Ian MacDonald, Eve McVeagh, Morgan Farley, Harry Shannon, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Wile, Sheb Wooley

United Artists released High Noon in theaters on July 24, 1952. Grade: 5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.