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high noon - The Literary Exhibitionist
high noon

-- चार हजार और साठ --

Okay, time for some Anecdotal Degrees of Separation, to explain how and why I wound up watching the 1952 film High Noon on Blu-Ray from Netflix last night.

It all started with Patton Oswalt on Twitter, a small bit of synergy in retrospect given how much of a well-known film lover he is -- but how I got to High Noon really has nothing to do with that.

He's doing standup right here in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, March 24, by the way. I would seriously love to go to that show, but, I did already see him with Gabriel and Kornelija in Tacoma in late January 2015, and I do already have a ticket to see Marc Maron (by myself) do standup the very next day, at the Moore Theatre, on Saturday the 25th. In all likelihood, now that I think about it, Patton's show may be better, given how much cathartic material he has been including in his shows since his wife died unexpectedly a year ago, but, I felt a slight bit more urgency regarding a ticket to see Maron because he's talked about pulling back from touring after this string of shows and there's no knowing when I'll get a chance to see him do standup again. Getting tickets to both might have been a bit much.

Anyway. A week ago today, last Friday, Patton Oswalt tweeted about an interview he did with NPR's Ari Shapiro for Fresh Air. His episode wasn't available online at the time of that initial tweet, but Shapiro later responded to me on Twitter that it would be live later that day -- and, a few hours later, there it was.

But, I really wanted to find this as a podcast on the podcast app on my phone. I did not find that Patton Oswalt interview until I had done a whole lot of Googling as well as keyword searching on the podcast app. That interview was on All Things Considered, which I could not find on the app -- but I did find the Fresh Air podcast, with at least three back episodes I downloaded because interview subjects sounded interesting to me, all of them comedians: Neal Brennan, Louie Anderson, and Samantha Bee.

As it happens, Neal Brennan was also on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me last Saturday, and on it he talked about what it was like to be interviewed by Terry Gross for Fresh Air. That's also why I sought out that specific episode -- which, as it happened, ended with a segment about a book about the making of High Noon.

I'm not certain I had ever seen High Noon before, but I'm pretty sure this was the first I ever knew that High Noon was an allegory for the cowardice of people in Hollywood refusing to come to the defense of people blacklisted in the McCarthy era. Now, I've never been a huge fan of Westerns as a genre, although there are a select few titles I do really like -- they tend to be ones that are about more than just being a Western. And this detail certainly piqued my interest in this film. So, I added it to my Netflix DVD queue and moved it to the top.

The disc arrived a few days ago, and I went ahead and watched it last night. At first, Shobhit wasn't all that interested, and he had to ask me twice what "allegory" means before he even really started paying attention. I was having a tough time defining the word on my own until my Dictionary app did it quite succinctly, in just two words: "symbolic narrative." Duh. And that's exactly what High Noon is, although you'd never know it by watching it without any of the context of its 1952 release.

I can't say the movie was extraordinary on its own, really, without that context. Once I started it, Shobhit became surprisingly very quickly engaged by it, and even remarked on how well it builds up the tension. I was intrigued by its being edited to run nearly in real time, and the movie is pretty short -- only 85 minutes. Spoiler alert! Shobhit actually felt disappointed that Gary Cooper's character survives in the end, and seemed to think it would have been a stronger ending had he died. I'm not sure I agree. Being blacklisted itself was not generally fatal, after all; it simply ruined lives. And Marhsal Will Kane still leaves town in the end with virtually no one from the town remaining a part of his. In the film's historical, political context, I think the way it ends still makes sense.

I do like seeing old movies like this with a previously unknown context that puts it into a different light than what's onscreen alone can do, though. I'd like to discover more cinema in this way. I am also reading a novel right now that is very much tied to the movie industry, called Innocents and Others, and I'm rather enjoying it almost immediately. It's making me think I should read more novels and books tied to Hollywood history, which would help me retain a working memory of film history. With a memory like mine, it's a challenge to do that without any assistance.

-- चार हजार और साठ --


-- चार हजार और साठ --

We also had a new dinner we've never made before, which I enjoyed so much I want to do it again sooner than later: we made pizza bagels! We got two packs of bagels the last time we went to Costco, and Shobhit remarked that I should have one for dinner or else in the end he'll wind up having eaten them all. I was trying to think of what I could do with one to make a good dinner, and when I realized one of the bagel flavors was cheese, and when I thought about making a cold sandwich but realized the only veggie meat I had was veggie pepperoni -- pizza bagel! Perfect!

We didn't have any pizza sauce, which was disappointing. But, just putting sliced tomato on sufficed. A bit of sliced onion, and then the veggie pepperoni, and pepper jack cheese, bake in the oven for fifteen minutes -- it really hit the spot. Next time, though, I want actual pizza sauce. I think that will make it better.

We ate those while watching High Noon. And when I finished that, I watched the week before last's episode of This Is Us, which was very well done, very sad, and made me cry. We also watched this week's Modern Family. And then we did the Friday New York Times crossword puzzle. At least we did something together for an hour that did not involve watching a movie or TV. We were still looking at a screen but whatever.

-- चार हजार और साठ --




positive energy please