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Reviewed by Victor Niederhoffer
This movie on a recent viewing leaves a big void. It is anti-American in that it shows a town of no-goods with no courage who take without giving. It was written to show why all countries should join the UN, and shows the obvious collectivist tilt and hatred of America of its writer, Carl Foreman.
The sheriff is involved in a love tangle with four or five people, including his deputy and Frank, the sheriff's would-be killer, and it's not obvious that he's not insanely pursuing his own jealous revenge rather than upholding the cause of justice. The townspeople and everyone else beg him to leave because of the love and jealousy thing regarding frank and because nothing would happen if he went out of town. So the sheriff doesn't act out of benevolent love of the town, or doing his duty, but of just not running away from trouble -- trouble that promises to track him down. But it's good to run away from trouble if more valuable goals can be achieved by avoidance.
There is no sense of time and place in the movie as it appears to be shot in a movie studio from standard stereotypes with no geology or nature there. Tex Ritter's singing of "Oh my darling, do not forsake me," followed by a dum-de-dum beat, is terribly monotonous and makes you feel low.
Apparently this is one of President Clinton's favorite movies, and before I saw it I couldn't understand why, because it's known for its stark depiction of a noble man of great character who will do his duty, nay take a preemptive strike to do it, regardless of the personal cost -- including the cost of losing the beautiful Grace Kelly wife, who is well cast, one of most loathsome characters ever to hit the screen. (She leaves him an hour after getting married when the going gets tough. But now I see why Clinton could enjoy it so much.
As bad as "High Noon" is, and how terribly it holds up on third viewing, "Twilight Samurai" is good and uplifting.
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