Plot: What’s it about?
Twilight Time have always been a label that has focused on discovery or re-evaluation for older films. They have released a few blockbuster films on the label, but they have released many more hidden gems that probably would not have made it onto Blu-ray without their support. A good example of this would be their release From Noon Till Three. Twilight Time has released ten films with the iconic actor Charles Bronson that very from some of his most successful (The Mechanic, Hard Times) to some of his biggest flops (From Noon Till Three, Murphy’s Law.) From Noon Till Three was not a financial success at the theaters and drew mixed reviews upon release. Twilight Time would not have put it out if they did not believe it deserved re-evaluation. With that in mind, I sat down to watch the film.
As the film begins, five men on horseback enter a town. They arrive at the Gladstone National Bank. There is nobody there and they rob the bank blind. They walk out of the bank with their clothing full of cash – shirts stuffed. The town is quiet. That’s when they see all the pistols pointed at them. When they are all shot dead, Graham Dorsey (Charles Bronson) wakes up. He has a terrible feeling about the bank job that the gang was going to pull the next day. Riding out to perform the job, Graham’s horse breaks a leg and he puts it down. Arriving at a beautiful but remote house (that looks exactly like house in Days of Heaven) the gang encounters a beautiful widow named Amanda (Jill Ireland.) The gang asks for a horse and she lies and says there are none in the barn. Graham checks the barn and there is a good steed there. He walks back to the gang and tells them that there wasn’t a horse in the barn – just a cow. The gang realizes they can’t ride double, so they decide to take on the job without Graham. Graham will just have until three o’ clock before the gang will come back to retrieve him. As soon as the gang departs, Graham begins to try to seduce the widow. When the two end up falling in love and the gang is captured, she sends Graham on to rescue his friends with comedic circumstances.
There is no doubt that this is one of the most peculiar comedies I have watched this year. The film definitely has some strange plot devices – notably that one character basically forces himself on the other – but I found myself laughing and smiling at the film. This film was a flop at the theaters and the critics were mixed in their reactions. I think that people missed out.
First off, how often is a film made that feels completely original? There is so much derivative stuff out there and it takes bravery to make something different. It is understandable that some critics didn’t get the film and some audiences didn’t know what to think of it. This film does not try to make the heroes heroic, brave, or altogether good. Instead, they are completely neurotic. Bronson played against type and it seems that he was punished for it with bad turnout. It’s a shame because the film has some very clever plot devices. The final half of the film which focuses on celebrity, memory, and legacy is really enjoyable and ranks as some of the better comedic writing I have seen in awhile. My guess is that this film was just too far ahead of the audience that would find its ironic posturing funny.
Jill Ireland is great in the film and Charles Bronson is also really good in his role. They were married to each other and watching them act together is great. They have natural chemistry and feed off each other well. The script by Frank D. Gilroy based upon his own novel is solid. He also served as director and did an admirable job.
At the end of the day, maybe this film will continue to be misunderstood by the masses and passed over as a misguided attempt at comedy by Bronson. If so, people will miss out on a funny and strange little film that makes some very astute observations on the nature of celebrity. I liked it a lot.
Video: How’s it look?
Twilight Time have provided a transfer in 1080p in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. As has become their standard, Twilight Time have sourced a great looking transfer from 20th Century Fox that will please any fan of the film. The film has the same muted palette that you would expect from a Western film – lots of brown and golden hues. Clarity is solid, fine detail is good, and a fine grain is noticeable. Overall, it looks pretty darn good on Blu-ray.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Twilight Time have provided a very competent DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono track. I never had any trouble understanding anything that was said by the principal characters. This film has an interesting and enjoyable score by the great Elmer Bernstein that sounds great.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Theatrical Trailer
- Isolated Music Score
The Bottom Line
From Noon Till Three is not the failure it was deemed upon release. The film dared to be different and was penalized for it. It’s a shame, because the film actually has some very intelligent writing and good performances. While it will not be a film to everybody’s taste (as proven by critical response at the time) I feel that this is well worth rediscovery. Thanks to Twilight Time for releasing it!