Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #75 WGA Script of All Time - High Noon (1952)

[Quick Summary: When news breaks that a feared felon is returning to town, the recently married Marshal Doane puts his future on hold to scrounge up a volunteer posse, but no one will step up.]

What are my biggest pet peeves?

1) Chase/fight/action scenes that are emotional wastelands.  (AUUGH!)
2) On the nose dialogue. (AUUUUUUUGH!)

Luckily, "High Noon" has:

1) Chase/fight/action scenes loaded with emotion.
2) Dialogue that is real. (Not caricatured with gunslinger sayings.)

ex. "Doane watches the Judge make his saddlebags and books secure. Mettrick gives the straps a final tug, hesitates, then turns to face Doan.

[Mettrick isn't just leaving physically. He's abandoning his friend who is in desperate need.]

METTRICK: Goodbye, Will...
DOANE (flatly): Goodbye.

[Subtexted. What else do you say to someone who is about to send you to the dogs?]

Mettrick is horribly ashamed. Doane tries to hid his own sick, still somewhat dazed shock and disappointment.

[These reaction shots to the other character give the reader a sense of uneasy, roiling emotions.]

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Emotion should show through the action.

And the Western flavored dialogue was based more in attitude in than because of any particular words.

High Noon (1952)
by Carl Foreman, based on a story by John M. Cunningham

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