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Thu Apr 18 06:55:03 MDT 2002
NY Times, April 18, 2002
'High Noon,' High Dudgeon
By BERNARD WEINRAUB
HOLLYWOOD, April 17 On April 7, 1952, the screenwriter Carl Foreman, who
had recently been blacklisted and had fled to London, wrote a single-spaced
11-page letter to Bosley Crowther, film critic of The New York Times.
Foreman wrote that as a screenwriter he was enormously pleased by the
critic's rave review of his latest film, "High Noon," which later won four
Academy Awards and became a classic.
But Foreman, who had earlier written the film adaptation of "Home of the
Brave" and screenplays for "The Men" and "Champion," based on a Ring
Lardner story, went on to assert that he had been denied producing credit
on "High Noon" by his former partner and producer, Stanley Kramer.
Essentially, Foreman contended that Kramer had been indifferent, even
hostile to the film but took credit for it when its creator Foreman
became vulnerable because of the blacklist.
The letter is the foundation of a new documentary, "Darkness at High Noon:
The Carl Foreman Documents," that will be shown this year on PBS. The
documentary was shown last week to an enthusiastic audience at the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art under the auspices of the Writers Guild of
America. It was written and directed by Lionel Chetwynd, an Oscar and
Emmy-nominated writer, and he and Norman Powell were the executive producers.
Though Foreman earned a screenwriting credit on "High Noon" and was
nominated for an Oscar (he didn't win), the documentary argues that over
the years his contributions as a producer and as the overall architect of
the movie have been minimized in favor of Kramer.
Kramer's widow, Karen Kramer, who has spent three months collecting
material to refute this thesis, called the film outrageous. Mrs. Kramer
said that her husband went out of his way to hire blacklisted writers and
actors and that he had dominated almost every element in "High Noon." She
accused Mr. Chetwynd, a political conservative, of having a political
agenda and said he was "rewriting history." Mrs. Kramer even questioned the
authenticity of the letter to Crowther.
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