The classic 1952 Western High Noon, which starred Gary Cooper as a sheriff standing alone against a group of gunmen, is getting a remake. Produced by Stanley Kramer and directed by Fred Zinnemann, High Noon garnered seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The movie would lose out to Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth in the Best Picture race (a result many still consider a travesty), but would ultimately take home four awards including Best Actor for Cooper.
Unique for its use of real-time storytelling, which creates a ticking-clock tension heightened by a spare Dimitri Tiomkin score, High Noon is now regarded as one of the classics of the Western genre. The film was listed #27 on AFI's most recent 100 Years...100 Movies rundown, and was named #2 on AFI's list of the Ten Best Westerns. It received a TV Movie sequel in 1980 with Lee Majors stepping in for Gary Cooper, and was also remade for television in 2000 with Tom Skerritt in the lead role. The film's story was also reworked for the 1981 Sean Connery sci-fi film Outland.
Deadline reports that another remake of High Noon is now on the way, this one coming with the blessing of original producer Stanley Kramer's widow Karen Kramer. It's actually Karen Kramer's second stab at launching a movie remake of High Noon after the first attempt fell apart when Relativity Media went bankrupt. This time around, Kramer has attracted Classical Entertainment to produce, with David Hunt (Greater) on board to write and direct.
In a statement, Hunt talked about how his version of High Noon will reflect the current state of affairs. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to bring the depth and power of the original to our own cultural moment," Hunt said. Indeed, the original High Noon was itself a movie with a message. Coming during the era of Communist witch hunts and the Hollywood blacklist, the film's depiction of a man shunned by everyone around him, and forced to stand alone against evil forces, served as a metaphor for the isolation many experienced as McCarthyism swept Hollywood and America at large. Ironically, the film's star Gary Cooper was himself a vocal anti-Communist, but that fact certainly did not diminish the strength of his performance.
Regardless of the movie's message, High Noon continues to endure because of its elemental storytelling and straight-forward depiction of noble heroism in the face of impossible odds. It remains to be seen if a new version of High Noon will be able to succeed at the box office however. Western remakes sometimes do well (as with the Coen Brothers' True Grit) and sometimes prove to be disastrous (as with the Johnny Depp-led Lone Ranger).