The greatest and best Western ever made, beautifully dark, real and with almost all of the usually prevalent adventurous and romantic John Wayne style removed. This is a thrilling, emotional and yet truthfully simple film that is directed with all the tense skill that Zinnemann would go on to show in 'Day of the Jackal'. The plot builds and builds in suspense, and while Cooper and Kelly expertly perform the pitiful roles of Kane and his bride that gain our empathy, the other townfolk demonstrate a contrasting cruel cowardice that is just...genuine.
The skill of the acting and direction and stark bleakness of the plot, mixed with a heady infusion of true love and goodness, gives it a reality that puts it above more romantic views of the West such as 'Stagecoach' and 'Rio Bravo'. 'The Searchers', 'Shane' and Eastwood's recent effort 'Unforgiven' come close to reproducing this, but it will take a real act of perfection to tumble 'High Noon' from its pedestal. I salute you!