Tex Ritter - The Ballad of High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)
Although now considered by many to be an archetypal Western movie, High Noon was, at the time, considered very controversial. Its production and release intersected with the second Red Scare and the Korean War. Writer, producer and partner Carl Foreman was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) while he was writing the film. Foreman had not been in the Communist Party for almost ten years, but declined to name names and was considered an “un-cooperative witness”. When Stanley Kramer found out some of this, he forced Foreman to sell his part of their company, and tried to get him kicked off the making of the picture. Fred Zinnemann, Gary Cooper, and Bruce Church, the film’s director, star, and producer intervened. Thus Foreman remained on the production, but moved to England before it was released nationally, as he knew he would never be allowed to work in America again.
Upon its release, the film was criticized by many filmgoers, as it did not contain such expected western staples, such as chases, violence, action, and picture postcard scenery. Rather, it presented emotional and moralistic dialogue throughout most of the film. Only in the last few minutes were there action scenes.
John Wayne strongly despised the film because he felt it was an allegory for blacklisting, which he and his good friends Ward Bond and Howard Hawks actively supported. In his Playboy interview from May 1971, Wayne stated he considered High Noon “the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life” and went on to say he would never regret having helped blacklist liberal screenwriter Carl Foreman from Hollywood. In 1959 he teamed up with director Howard Hawks to make Rio Bravo as a conservative response. -wiki
The casual delivery of the foreboding lyrics over a silent montage with no natural sound is so unnerving. This opening scene has always impressed me more than the iconic final showdown. Also Lee Van Cleef is always a badass.