Say it again -- most people are no damn good & lack the necessary backbone when a threat is hovering and their financial security may be threatened. If nothing else, may each and every person on the planet understand that in the end you have to depend on yourself and no one else to do the hard thing. Tell me of another film that conveys this basic reading of human nature with more clarity or force."
More historically speaking, of course, is the fact that High Noon was a definitive allegory against Hollywood blacklisting that was ongoing during the course of the film's development. Foreman wrote the film to illustrate how hollywood refused to stand up to the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) while their friends, family and co-workers were being hunted down for thier political beliefs.
John Wayne and Howard Hawks were two figureheads in the movie industry adamantly opposed to Foreman's views and High Noon. After the film's release, Wayne called it, "the most un-American thing he'd ever seen," and thus, Foreman was blacklisted -- something that Wayne himself never regretted doing -- he even teamed up with Hawks for a rebuttal in Rio Bravo ('59). It wasn't until 1997 that Carl Foreman was finally reinstated. He died in 1984.And so, High Noon is essentially about Marshall Kane's realization of this truth, which is universal even to this day, and how he responds to it, becoming the exception. Which brings me back to the title song, sung from Kane's point-of-view (with Ritter sounding similar to the deep-throated Gary Cooper) which has the same endearing homeliness and comfort of Kane's moralistic, saintly, dutiful character. Watching the opening two minutes or so with this context adds bounties of foreshadowing and cool-cut irony.
The baddies, assembling to ride into town and await the return of Frank Miller, are without their knowledge, riding to their death by the one man who had the decency and the effrontery to do what's right. The good side of human nature will win out in this end, and spiking the tin star in the dirt never felt so good.
You can watch the opening credits to Fred Zinneman's High Noon here. I'd embed here, but no codes.