Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Costume Design... how things have changed. Pelted with Oscars at the 1966 Academy Awards, High Noon director Fred Zinnemann’s historical drama is the kind of authentic, stately yawner that probably wouldn’t even score a greenlight today.
The film salutes Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield), who wrestles with his loyalties to Church and Crown and refuses to okay King Henry VIII’s (Robert Shaw) divorce of Catherine and allow him to lawfully begin ploughing Anne Boleyn (Vanessa Redgrave). Barring a very shouty Shaw and Orson Welles’ effortless show-stealer as grumpy behemoth Cardinal Woolsey, the disc’s history-buff featurette is more involving (and 80 minutes shorter) than the film. Welles was paying the bills for masterpiece Chimes At Midnight, released the same year and ignored by Oscar. Why isn’t that on Region 2 yet?