cover image High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

Glenn Frankel. Bloomsbury, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-62040-948-0

In this timely historical account, Pulitzer-winner Frankel (The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend) details how the 1952 western High Noon, about a marshal forsaken by his neighbors after outlaws target him, became a parable for the red scare. Frankel comprehensively details the backgrounds of the film’s main players, including independent producer Stanley Kramer, director Fred Zinnemann, composer Dimitri Tiomkin, and stars Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly (the latter in her first major role). However, the real focus is on the film’s gifted screenwriter and coproducer, Carl Foreman. During filming, Foreman was forced to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his past Communist membership. When Foreman refused to name names of other communists, he was blacklisted, causing a falling-out with fellow High Noon producer Kramer. Foreman eventually revived his career in Britain by producing and writing The Guns of Navarone in 1961, but these travails took a toll on his health. Foreman’s story has been told before, but this fresh account offers additional information that sheds new light on how professional and private lives were altered by the blacklist. This fascinating period in Hollywood history is the perfect fodder for Frankel’s sharp observations, and his breathless style makes for compelling reading. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Literary. (Feb.)