High Noon Remake On Its Way?

Rights bought at American Film Market

High Noon Remake On Its Way?

by Tom Ambrose |
Published on

Until James Mangold grabbed Christian Bale and Russell Crowe earlier this year and bunged them on the 3.10 To Yuma, Westerns had largely been left untouched by Hollywood’s big remake brush.

But Yuma’s modest success (it had grossed just under $60 million worldwide last time we checked, which was about 10 seconds ago) has paved the way for other brave prospectors – and now it seems that High Noon – the classic Gary Cooper/Fred Zinnemann flick – may be next in line.

Rights to the film were picked up at the American Film Market yesterday by producer Mark Headley, actor Christopher Mitchum (yes, Robert Mitchum’s son) and their business partner, Toni Covington, operating as newly-formed production company, High Noon Prods.

The rights were bought from Karen Sharp Kramer, the widow of the movie’s late producer, Stanley Kramer.

There’s a certain irony in this, of course, because Yuma could be seen as High Noon in reverse. The original Yuma followed five years after the original High Noon, and now here the tables are turned. Story-wise, whereas Yuma sees a law-abiding do-gooder escort a very bad man to his destiny (in the form of a prison transport), High Noon famously sees a sheriff await the arrival of a train carrying an evil gang whose sole intention is to kill him.

Of course, High Noon is more complex than that – the film plays out in real time, building up to the titular timeframe, when the train arrives and a tense shoot-out arrives. Up to then, it’s a morality play of sorts as Sheriff Will Kane (Cooper, in the role that bagged him an Oscar) wrestles with his conscience and instinct to turn tail and run, on the morning when he’s just been married to his Quaker wife (Grace Kelly). Deciding to stay and fight, he begs the townsfolk for help, but finds that none is forthcoming. And when the clock strikes twelve, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…

Hugely influential – you could argue that 24 would never have existed without High Noon and its real-time gimmick – High Noon is a great movie, with a complexity of character and depth (it can be seen as an allegory for the McCarthy Communism trials that were ongoing at the time) that puts it up there with the greatest Westerns ever made.

Whether it’s ripe for a remake is a moot point, as Headley, Mitchum and Covington hope to start shooting early next year, which indicates that a script is already in place. But there’s no doubt that a new version of High Noon could be a superb ticking clock thriller. No word on a director or star just yet, or even if the film will feature the Oscar-winning song, ‘Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’.

But with the rich history of the Will Kane part, expect it to spark an A-list feeding frenzy. Needless to say, we’ll keep you posted.

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