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Roughly Speaking podcast: A classic Western and the Hollywood witch hunt (episode 242)

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Film historians consider "High Noon" to be a Western, but it’s more than that — the story of one man’s moral courage in the face of overwhelming odds. In the 1952 film, a town marshal, played by Gary Cooper, is about to retire his badge and his gun and move away with his new bride, played by Grace Kelly. But the marshal learns that a man who hates him, a vicious outlaw named Frank Miller, is coming back to the town to kill him — and he’s arriving on the noon train. "High Noon" is a Hollywood classic, but it was made during the post-World War II Red Scare, when Congress was looking for suspected communists among the film industry’s producers, writers, directors and actors. The screenwriter of “High Noon” was Carl Foreman, and in the middle of the film’s production he was forced to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his former membership in the Communist Party. Refusing to name names, he was eventually blacklisted and fled the United States. Author Glenn Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, is our guest today. He has written a book, “High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of An American Classic.” He joins us in conversation with our film critics, Linda DeLibero and Christopher Llewellyn Reed.



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