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

It’s one of the most revered movies of Hollywood’s golden age. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper (who attended high school in Bozeman) and Grace Kelly in her first significant movie role, High Noon achieved instant box-office and critical success. But what is 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 called to testify about his former membership in the Communist Party, facing the painful dilemma of whether to name names or sacrifice his brilliant career. As he pondered what to do, Foreman turned his screenplay into a parable about fear, repression and the cost of courage. Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, set against the backdrop of a turbulent political era whose lessons resonate in our own troubled time.

Frankel’s lecture was sponsored by the Montana State University Center for Western Lands and Peoples. For more information about Glenn Frankel, see his website, glennfrankel.com. For more on Cooper, see article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Recorded at the Museum of the Rockies, March 30, 2017.

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