Film fanatics and friends Fred Sullivan and Yasser Akram are on a mission to watch 25 of one another’s favourite movies. Each week they will watch one movie each and then get together to discuss what they have seen. So far, they have visited China, France, Morocco, Kazakhstan, the English countryside and the human soul itself, and it’s all been here for you to enjoy.
Earlier this week, the boy’s discussed ‘War Horse‘, which was Yasser’s choice for Fred. Now it’s Fred’s pick and he’s gone for an Oscar-winning Western.
You can read the entires from previous week by checking out the archives on the left of the screen.
Yasser: Let’s talk about ‘High Noon’
Fred: Okay. Your text message (“High Noon is a Western!! Oh dear…“) didn’t fill me with hope.
YA: Westerns, like, it’s firmly within me that I generally detest that shit.
FS: I’m surprised. I would have thought they would be up your street.
YA: Really? What made you think that?
YA: (laughs) Hats
FS: (laughs) I couldn’t think of a third.
YA: I just never got in to it. I remember my dad ALWAYS watching ‘The Magnificent Seven‘ and forcing me to watch them.
FS: Nothing feels fun if you are forced to do it, like all the great books you hate forever because you were made to read them at school.
YA: I had a basic portable handheld gameboy type thing with a ‘Back to the Future III‘ game on it. I liked that, but I was naughty once and me Mam hid it. She forgot where she hid it too and we soon moved house… loved that toy… I wonder if it’s still hidden?
FS: Surely ‘High Noon’ is more ‘Unforgiven’ than ‘Cowboys and Aliens’?
YA: See, last week you said “Grace Kelly“. I thought ‘great! A classy, city-based movie. Love and romance between a sassy woman and a city slicker.
FS: (laughs) Nope! I did think the title would have given it away as a Western.
YA: (laughs) Forgive me for thinking that Grace Kelly only did certain types of movies. I did think it was an odd name for a glamorous romance.
FS: She was surprisingly versatile in her short career.
YA: The tune was annoying in the movie.
FS: ‘Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling’
FS: The thing is, if you already hate Westerns, is the music actually ruining it for you?
YA: Aside from the music and another, albeit small, niggle, the movie was surprisingly good.
FS: Oh good! Let’s take the niggle first, if we may.
YA: Gary Cooper was WAY too old for Grace Kelly. He looked like her Dad, man. I thought he was giving her away at the wedding.
YA: Then they kissed and I felt like ‘bleugh’.
FS: It’s difficult when one of the screen’s great romantic idols gets old and ends up looking like Sid James chasing teenagers in a late ‘Carry On‘ film. He’s brilliant in the film though.
YA: Cooper carried most of it.
YA: Actually, Katy Juardo was good. The other two were too wishy-washy for me.
FS: Surely that was in keeping with their spineless characters.
YA: Cooper was like Rambo.
FS: (laughs) That’s not a parallel I’d ever have thought of, but go on…
YA: He was by himself for the most part. People around him letting him down. They keep him around and then fuck him over. Kinda like ‘Rambo II‘
FS: (laughs) I’ve never seen it.
FS: In week one, I said I felt ‘Fearless‘ was making a political statement and you didn’t agree.
YA: I said you watch too much news.
FS: Well this is a film categorically making one – and a very brave one at that.
YA: Care to elaborate?
FS: Hollywood in the early ’50s – Senator Joseph McCarthy and his committee tried to root out any person with communist affiliations or sympathies. They carried out ‘witch hunts’, calling people to testify and asking them to name names. Those who did were free to work on. Those who refused, remained silent, or were named saw their careers ruined. It’s probably one of the blackest periods in American history.
YA: (scratches head)
FS: Here is Will Kane (Gary Cooper), a man looking for the support of his friends and he finds none, so has to face the music alone. He’s symbolic of all those people who refused to name names. If Hollywood as a whole had stood up to McCarthy he’d have been powerless, but they didn’t.
YA: I don’t necessarily like politics, although it does affect the film industry.
FS: The writer of this movie, Carl Foreman, was one of those blacklisted. Isn’t it good that a few people were willing to put movies out there that condemned the whole thing?
YA: Yeah, I’m all about the rebel alliance.
FS: (laughs) Good man.
YA: Back to the on-screen events of ‘High Noon’. The BEST thing was that it was in real-time.
FS: It’s a nice little plot device.
YA: I’m finding that each of your movies have different elements to them so far. ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors‘ and its intertwining subplots, ‘Sleuth‘ was mano-e-mano, ‘Breathless‘ had the jump shot, and this one is in real-time.
FS: So what are you rating it?
YA: I didn’t hate it. I quite enjoyed it. I would give it 6/10. I thought the suspense towards the end was good. I liked how he’d hit rock bottom. I felt for him when both his wife and his ex were leaving together. Poor guy.
FS: 6/10 – I expected a 4 after that text message.
YA: So did I.
YA: OH WHAT! No no no no… no no no.
FS: I know. She also had Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Ray Milland…
YA: Grace Kelly isn’t as classy as I once thought she was.
FS: (laughs) So, I have been looking forward to this week more than any other.
FS: I said there was one movie on my list I’d thought you would hate… ‘Topsy Turvy’ is it.
YA: Oh dear! (laughs) I hope you like ‘East is East‘.
FS: I have seen it before, but 13 years ago when I had probably met zero Asian people in my life.
FS: Who’d have thought it?
YA: I dunno, man, but aint you glad it’s happened?
FS: Oh yes – it’s enriched my life.
Next week: Let’s party like it’s 1999 with ‘East is East’ and ‘Topsy Turvy’