Foreman had once been a member of the Communist Party , but he declined to identify fellow members, or anyone he suspected of current membership. As a result, he was labeled an "uncooperative witness" by the committee, making him vulnerable to blacklisting. As a signatory to the production loan, Foreman remained with the High Noon project; but before the film's release, he sold his partnership share to Kramer and moved to Britain , knowing that he would not find further work in the United States.
Foreman said that Kramer feared damage to his own career due to "guilt by association". The Carl Foreman Documents—a documentary based in part on a lengthy letter from Foreman to film critic Bosley Crowther —Foreman's role in the creation and production of High Noon has been unfairly downplayed over the years in favor of Kramer's. Foreman told Crowther that the film originated from a four-page plot outline he wrote that turned out to be very similar to a short story by John W. Cunningham called "The Tin Star".
Foreman purchased the film rights to Cunningham's story and wrote the screenplay. By the time the documentary aired, most of the principals were dead, including Kramer, Foreman, Zinnemann, and Cooper.
Victor Navasky , author of Naming Names, a definitive account of the Hollywood blacklist, told a reporter that, based on his interviews with Kramer's widow and others, the documentary seemed "one-sided, and the problem is it makes a villain out of Stanley Kramer, when it was more complicated than that". Later, he told an interviewer that he would "never regret having helped run [Foreman] out of the country".
Although Wayne's contempt for the film and refusal of its lead role were well known, he said, "I'm glad to see they're giving this to a man who is not only most deserving, but has conducted himself throughout the years in our business in a manner that we can all be proud of Now that I'm through being such a good sport I'm going back and find my business manager and agent He later said he considered it the biggest mistake of his career.
Rumors of an affair between Cooper and Kelly during filming remain unsubstantiated. Kelly biographer Donald Spoto wrote that there was no evidence of a romance, aside from tabloid gossip. Kramer first offered him the Harvey Pell role, after seeing him in a touring production of Mister Roberts , on the condition that he have his nose surgically altered to appear less menacing.
Van Cleef refused, and was cast instead as Colby, the only role of his career without a single line of dialog. A few town scenes were shot in Columbia State Historic Park , a preserved Gold Rush mining town near Sonora , but most of the street scenes were filmed on the Columbia lot in Burbank. Joseph's Church in Tuolumne City was used for exterior shots of the Hadleyville church. The railroad was the old Sierra Railroad in Jamestown , a few miles south of Columbia, now known as Railtown State Historic Park , and often nicknamed "the movie railroad" due to its frequent use in films and television shows.
The railroad station was built for the film alongside a water tower at Warnerville, about 15 miles to the southwest. He wore no makeup, to emphasize his character's anguish and fear, which was probably intensified by pain from recent surgery to remove a bleeding ulcer.
Trampas a villain calls out the Virginian, who has a new bride waiting whom he might lose if he goes ahead with the gunfight. High Noon has even been described as a "straight remake " of the film version of The Virginian in which Cooper also starred. Any time you're alone and you feel you're not getting the support you need, Cooper's Will Kane becomes the perfect metaphor.
I didn't think a good town marshal was going to run around town like a chicken with his head cut off asking everyone to help. And who saves him? That isn't my idea of a good Western. I only wish he'd leave my films alone! Sheriffs are people and no two people are alike.
The story of High Noon takes place in the Old West but it is really a story about a man's conflict of conscience. In this sense it is a cousin to A Man for All Seasons. In any event, respect for the Western hero has not been diminished by High Noon.