Here Come the First Reviews
“Much has been written about Hollywood's blacklist era of the 1940s and 1950s, but seldom has it been explored through the story of one particular film. According to Frankel, the 1952 film High Noon is not simply a landmark production of style and substance but an allegorical statement about the times in which it was created. This book shuttles back and forth between a highly focused study of the film, Gary Cooper, and screenwriter Carl Foreman, and an informed and revealing examination of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the many people in Hollywood who were affected by, or acted on behalf of, that committee. This may be one of the most accessible books ever written concerning the effects of HUAC on Hollywood, as Frankel's decision to blend these two aspects of Hollywood history, and his innate skill as a journalist, has produced a highly readable and fascinating look at a period that is less widely known than one might imagine. VERDICT: Anyone interested in film and/or politics will enjoy and learn from this book.”
New York Times
"High Noon is a far deeper dig into the background and historical context of its subject: that is, the sorry history of the blacklist, instituted by the studios after the House Un-American Activities Committee put a gun to their collective heads....Frankel narrates this story well. He has a sure ear for the telling anecdote, and a good eye for detail. The era has been labeled 'the plague years,' but Frankel is forgiving of those caught up in its tangle of principle and expediency, courage and cowardice. He adopts the verdict of Dalton Trumbo: 'There were only victims'."
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"Even in rerun, the sheer wickedness of HUAC’s witch hunt generates terrific drama — and offers reassurance. Though Frankel began this sumptuous history long before the latest election, he ends up reminding us that 2016 was far from the first time politicians trafficked in lies and fear, and showing us how, nonetheless, people of integrity came together to do exemplary work."
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"So much has been written about the blacklist’s perpetrators and victims that you might be forgiven for thinking you know all there is worth knowing…but Frankel offers new details and fresh insights. His portrait of Gary Cooper’s life and career is equally incisive.
The Making of High Noon is filled with interesting observations as well as facts. It will almost surely stand as the definitive document about this landmark movie. I can’t wait to see what subject this skilled journalist will tackle next."
"This fresh account...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."
"Mixing elements of biography, social history and film analysis, author Glenn Frankel uncovers drama and tragedy not usually found in discussions of moviemaking. His detailed narrative is a primer for those who don't understand how the blacklist era endangered free speech and other constitutional values."
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"Frankel doesn’t shy away from juicier Tinseltown matters, such as Cooper’s torrid affair with his Fountainhead co-star Patricia Neal or the rumors of High Noon’s leading lady Grace Kelly's relationships with her many male leads (though, he says, not Cooper). The author also does some sleuthing, aided by his voluminous research of who exactly was responsible for certain signature elements found in High Noon, such as the famous use of clocks to denote the passage of time. Here is a book about a tumultuous period from our past that both informs and entertains – just as the best movies do."
"Courage under the gun, in both art and life. In this history, Pulitzer Prize winner Frankel (The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, 2013) tells the story of the well-known 1952 Western that became virtually an allegory of its own making....Besides the macro picture of Hollywood in its darkest era, Frankel is excellent at capturing the micro aspects as well, fascinatingly weaving in multiple and competing accounts of how the film was pieced together in the editing room.....A comprehensive guide to both a classic film and the era that created it."
“The 1950s film industry portrayed in High Noon is, like [James] Ellroy’s Los Angeles, stocked with hard-core commies, idealistic fellow travelers, paranoid Red-baiters, union busters, corrupt congressmen, power-hungry gossip columnists, secretive FBI agents and their snitches, philandering actors and eager starlets. But far from being a Hollywood Babylon of the Red Scare, Frankel’s book is a detailed investigation of the way anti-communist persecution poisoned the atmosphere around one film, which succeeded nonetheless, and damaged the lives of the people who made it.”