COUNTDOWN TO HIGH NOON

As we eagerly await the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominees, this week we take a look back at High Noon (1952), which earned seven Oscar nominations including nods for Directing, Writing, and Best Motion Picture.

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These pages from director Fred Zinnemann’s shooting script for High Noon (which was written by Carl Foreman and produced by Stanley Kramer) illustrate how the filmmaker utilized his copy of the screenplay to thoroughly document his ideas about different aspects of production. His script functioned as a sort of “bible” in which he would jot down his thoughts about how specific scenes should be shot or how the actors should play their characters, and even notes related to post-production. For example, since time plays such an integral part in this film, Zinnemann inserted editing directives for specific moments when the clock should appear onscreen.  The bound, annotated scripts also include shooting schedules, correspondence, and other documents relevant to the production of the film that Zinnemann could easily reference on set.

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The career of this illustrious director is well-documented in the Fred Zinnemann papers, which are housed in Special Collections at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library.

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