High Noon

Album: Frankie Laine's Greatest Hits (1952)
Charted: 7 5
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  • This was the title tune for the movie High Noon, released in 1952 and starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. In the film, Cooper plays a marshal who finds out that a man he put in prison has been released, and is arriving at high noon (with his posse) to kill him. Kelly, playing Cooper's wife, wants them to pack up and run, but Cooper can't do something so cowardly and chooses to confront the gang.

    The song lays out the conflict between love and honor:

    I only know I must be brave
    And I must face a man who hates me
    Or lie a coward, a craven coward
    In my grave
  • The song was written for the movie by Ned Washington and Dmitri Tiomkin. In the film, it was sung by Tex Ritter, but the release by Frankie Laine was the hit.
  • The title appears just once, and it's in the verse:

    Look at that big hand move along
    Nearin' high noon

    The song is often listed as "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)," incorporating the chorus line.
  • Ry Cooder, who worked on the music for a number of films, including Paris, Texas (1984), had this to say about the track: "'High Noon' is a magical formula of elements. In two or three bars, the feeling of the song is telling you exactly what went on before, what's happening now and what's going to happen later."

Comments: 13

  • Sonia Mcalear from Upper Lake California What was that Percussive background sound in the Theme Song to High Noon? It’s so unusual sounding that I’ve pondered this question for quite some time. It sounds like a hand hitting a Guitar Body, that’s my best guess. But if someone knows for sure, I would like to know. Thanks for any information ahead of time.
  • Will Kane from Jamestown, Ca (just Outside Of Hadleyville)A lot wrong here...

    The original song--as performed in the movie--is not about "love vs honor" as this article states, and neither is the movie. The movie is about "love vs DUTY." A subtle but important and more nuanced theme. For whatever reason, the lyrics in both Ritter and Laine's single releases of the song were watered down. Suits back at headquarters probably thought they were too hard-core for the time.

    "I must face that deadly killer" became "I must face a man who hates me."

    "I can't be leaving--until I shoot Frank Miller dead" became "I can't be leaving--now that I need you by my side."

    Both the single versions completely dispensed with the haunting, percussive sound referenced in this article--the sound that like so many elements in the movie, drove a sense of a rhythmic march of the clock to doom.

    Again. For reasons unknown.

    High Noon is not about "honor." It's about "integrity." it's about doing the right thing even when everyone around you urges you do the opposite--including your loving wife. It's about doing the right thing at great loss and peril to yourself--even when there are easier, safer paths.

    In the scene where Cooper (Kane) is writing his Last Will and Testament and his head collapses in pain, fear, exhaustion and despair, there ain't a lot of "honor" in the room. Kane knows the day is going to end in death, most likely his own.

    There's only one man who could have pulled off that subtle but profoundly important distinction on the big screen. And that man's name is Gary Cooper.

    Remarkably, a lot of huge names were offered the part and all turned it down. Brando. Peck. Wayne... they all hated it. But Gary Cooper saw the profundity and importance of the story. He said it reminded him of his Dad (a judge) and the lessons he had taught him. Cooper not only accepted the part, he volunteered to take half his regular salary.

    High Noon is one of those magic convergences, where vision, hard work, and remarkable talent are fueled by serendipity. Despite overwhelming odds to the contrary, it all came together.
  • Dan Rivers from Las Vegas NevadaFrankie Laine one of my favorite songs & movies.... HIGH NOON.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 19th 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time, Bob Hope was the show's host...
    The winner for 'Best Original Song' was "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" from the motion picture 'High Noon'...
    Country singer Tex Ritter performed the song at the awards ceremony {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 19 1952, Tex Ritter recorded "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)"...
    It was used during the opening credits of the Stanley Kramer movie 'High Noon'; and won the Oscar for 'Best Original Song' {Gary Cooper won for 'Best Actor'}...
    On October 11th, 1952 it peaked at #12 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Best Selling Pop Singles chart...
    Frankie Laine's covered version of the song peaked at #5 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Best Selling Pop Singles chart on September 27th, 1952...
    R.I.P. Mr. Ritter {1905 - 1974}, Mr. Cooper {1901 - 1961}, and Mr. Laine {1913 - 2007}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThis song won for Best Song at the 1952 Academy Awards!!!
  • Alan from Sault Ste. Marie, OnA nice cover of a great song from a classic film. High Noon took the western to another level. I to saw it as a kid being 5 at the time. As young as I was I never forgot his film and it has become my favourite film ever. Gary Cooper was always a hero to me. I noted with delight that Bill Clinton shares my feelings having introduced the film at the AFI top 100 movies of all time and having viewed it at the white house about 15 times. It was also Dwight Eisenhowers favourite film. That it lost best picture academy award to the circus farse "The Greatest Show On Earth" made no sense at the time and still doesn't.
  • Kenny from Los Angeles, CaHigh Noon is built around the tense anticipation of the arrival of the nefarious Frank Miller on the noonday train. The song develops the implications of this event, hinting at the coming duel between Miller and Sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper)Instrumental phrases from the song are used throughout the film and these persistently remind the viewer of the corresponding lyrics.At several points in the film, a line from the song is heard, complete with lyrics, but only very faintly. The lyrics of Frankie Laine's hit recording of ?Do Not Forsake Me? were thus amended to omit all direct references to the film's villain, Frank Miller; ?Although you're grieving...I can't be leaving.... until I shoot Frank Miller deaddddddd.?
  • Lester from New York City, NyI think Frankie Laine had the worst hairpiece in show business
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyThis may be the first time a song was used in a non-musical movie in a way that explained a character's emotions or carried the story forward. We are so accustomed to it these days that it is sometimes hard to imagine that it was not always that way. It is more than just a great song -- its usage in the movie is an historical part of cinema history.
  • Jonnie King from St. Louis, MoIronically, during this time period, there were many 'cover versions' in the market place. Tex Ritter's, as well as Frankie's, was a SUPER version of this Classic Ballad. When I was a kid my Dad & I met Tex. The day after that I was actually at a TV Show here in St. Louis when he appeared on a Noon Time Program and lip-sync'd "High Noon". He was a great performer,a gentleman, and like his son John Ritter, left us way to early.
  • Albert from Tampa, Fl"For I must face a man who hates me, or lie a coward. . .in my grave." This was the perfect song for the movie. I saw the movie as a kid when it first came out and still watch it now and then. It teaches a tough lesson about life: You must face your problems, not run from them, and don't count on help from your friends when that train comes in. The movie also gave Grace Kelly a nice role.
  • Danielle from Spruce Grove, Canada"Do not forsake me oh my darlin' on this our wedding day"
    This is a really good song to just listen to the lyrics. Seems like pretty easy listening
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