Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: “High Noon” in Space

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Outland”.

A remake is a remake is a remake, except when it is not. Peter Hyams’ “Outland” (1981) is a remake of Fred Zinnemann’s “High Noon” (1952), except it’s not. “High Noon” is set in 19th century Western United States. “Outland” is placed in a futuristic outer space. There are an awful lot of differences but even more similarities.

On Io, the third moon of the planet Jupiter, Con-Amalgamate has a mining colony. Con-Am 27 mines titanium. Sean Connery is the security for the colony. He is a Federal District Marshall. He is just arriving. Gary Cooper is the town marshall. He’s just leaving town.

Both marshalls have wives. Gary Cooper’s Will Kane just married his. She is a Quaker and she hates violence. So he is giving up the law enforcement business. When Kane decides to face down his adversaries, she goes to catch a train. She doesn’t leave town but she almost does. Sean Connery’s William T. O’Niel has a wife too. But she isn’t up to being stationed on another mining colony. These differences and similarities are only cosmetic.

Marshall Kane and Marshall O’Niel both are the only thing that stand between civilization and the barbarians. Men are dying on Io and it looks like suicide but the Marshall isn’t so sure. The badass Marshall Kane put in prison to be hung has just been pardoned and he is on the noon train. Why is it always the noon train? One thing is for sure. If it wasn’t the noon train, it wouldn’t be called “High Noon”, now would it?

Marshall O’Niel starts digging and it’s not pleasant what he finds. Not pleasant at all. Like Kane, he has a choice to make. A “to be or not to be” kind of situation. He can leave well enough alone and he’ll be just fine and dandy. If he goes after the bad guys, there will be hell to pay.

Some western, huh? “This ain’t no western,” you say. “Wanna bet,” I say. Most of these space movies are westerns in disguise. Think not. “Star Wars” was a space opera that was really a western. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. Darth Vader was simply an updated version of Black Bart.

Do you have a favorite remake?