Watch for the Scenery Rather than the Story
Noon (Richard Crenna) doesn't remember much other than he was shot at and fell from a hotel window, but having jumped on a box-cart after being chased and shot at he finds himself tagging along with an outlaw by the name of Rimes (Stephen Boyd) trying to piece together who he is and what happened to him. Slowly the past starts coming back to Noon as he remembers his wife and child were killed and that somewhere there is a hidden fortune. But as they find themselves working together to achieve their goals they also find themselves up against various people who want to stop them.
I can't remember the last time a western left me as frustrated as "The Man Called Noon" has. Here is a movie which has so much going in its favour but then wastes it all by ending up being simply tedious when it isn't delivering action scenes. As such we have all these plus points starting with the entertaining set up of a gun man who suffers memory loss following being shot at and as such thinks he is a man called noon, it is an idea packed with potential and mystery especially when he meets Rimes, an outlaw whose motives you quickly begin to question. Yet for all the potential to be intriguing the lethargy in the way the story unfolds makes it hard to keep interested in.
But then you have the cinematography and between director Peter Collinson and cinematographer John Cabrera they have captured the landscape in a traffic manner to the point the backdrops are almost too perfect, as if they were painted. And truth be told the stunning landscapes ends up the star of the movie with Collinson and Cabrera framing the actors nicely against them to really make certain scenes stand out. In fairness the familiar faces of Richard Crenna and Stephen Boyd certainly help to lift things but their characters are so slow going due to the way the story lethargically unravels that you end up remembering how the stars, and that includes the stunning Rosanna Schiaffino, look against the sky, the rocks or the weathered old buildings.
What this all boils down to is that "The Man Called Noon" is a treat for the eyes, one of the most gorgeous looking westerns you will come across with great scenery in almost every scene which is highlighted by great cinematography. But the way the story plays out is simply too slow and ends up robbing the movie of the intrigue that a gun slinger suffering from amnesia possesses.