If anyone knows about classic movie Westerns it’s definitely John Wayne. But, did you know that there was at least one movie in that genre that he did not like? The movie might just surprise you.
It was during a 1974 interview that the Hollywood star revealed he was not a fan of “High Noon.” Released in 1952, “High Noon” starred Gary Cooper as a town marshal faced with a difficult choice. Does he decide to take on a group of dangerous men or flee the town he serves with his wife? One factor that makes the film unique is that it takes place in real time.
Although controversial thanks to the political topics it addressed, “High Noon” was positively received and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Also, according to Wikipedia, the film was one of the first 25 films chosen to be included in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
John Wayne Believed the Western Film ‘High Noon’ was unAmerican
Despite all this and the iconic status of “High Noon,” John Wayne was not a fan. The interviewer asks Wayne why he felt the film was “unAmerican.” “… I, for the life of me, can’t see what’s unAmerican about (‘High Noon’),” the interview adds.
John Wayne then talks about why he wasn’t a fan of the movie. He argues that its premise of one man left alone by all the citizens of his town to deal with a gang of villains wasn’t realistic. And, he also says the film does not put actual American values on display.
“Well, a whole city of people that have come across the plains and suffered all kinds of hardships are suddenly afraid to help out a sheriff because three men are coming into the town that are tough,” Wayne explains during the interview. “Now, he goes to them and pleads … and he goes into the church and for some reason, the women are all sitting on one side of the church and the men are sitting all on the other side of the church and he pleads his case. The men say, ‘No, no, no.’ And the women get up and say, ‘You’re yellow. You’re a coward.’ I don’t think that ever happens in the United States.”
John Wayne also says that the actions of the marshal, the movie’s main character, did not represent American values.
“Then, at the end of the picture he took the United States marshal badge, threw it down, stepped on it, and walked off,” Wayne says. “I think those things are just a little bit unAmerican.”
You can watch John Wayne talk about “High Noon” and more during 1974 in the clip below. The famous actor also talks about the blacklisting that took place in Hollywood at one time.