Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's High Noon Once Again

We still care what does well at the box office. Yet Oscar ratings have hit a new low. We still go to the movies and gossip magazines still shout out to us from the checkout line. But the influence of movies has waned since the heyday of Hollywood.

Long before the long tail of the internet, before five-hundred channels and social media, movies were once the principal popular entertainment that shaped attitudes, mores, styles and even politics.

Back in the early 50’s, the movies were politics. It was a time when the first stitches were sewn between politics and entertainment. And while the legendary studio boss Samuel Goldwyn is reported to have said to his filmmakers that “if you want a send a message, use Western Union,” many filmmakers of that time had a lot to say.

The country was still coming out of WWII. The Cold War and the Red Scare were were as prominent as news about Russia is today. Filmmakers like John Frankenheimer and writers like Carl Foreman were deeply engaged in the politics of the day.

One of the films that reflected that was the classic legendary High Noon. Released in 1952 it’s a powerful allegory for events then and now. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Frankel takes us inside the film and the times in High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.

My conversation with Glenn Frankel: