Revisiting High Noon
I will be giving a talk entitled "Revisiting the Blacklist Western: a Reception Study of High Noon" on Wednesday November 25th 2020, as part of Northumbria University's "Moving Image, Popular Media and Culture" research seminar series.
This talk will deploy primary archival research into local newspaper articles from across the USA, to assess the extent to which High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) was - as critical orthodoxy tells us - received as a film with a contemporary political message pertaining to the Hollywood blacklist on its initial cinematic release. Various pre-existing assumptions surrounding the film’s entry into the public sphere will be interrogated: by revealing that the film was overwhelmingly hailed as an instant genre classic; by examining the levels of awareness around writer Carl Foreman’s role; and by analysing concordances between news coverage of the House Un-American Activities Committee and that of High Noon. The talk will thereby seek to illuminate the fragmentary nature of political discourse in Cold War-era popular culture.