highnoon.jpe"So long ma'am" and "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" are cowboy clichés most New Yorkers don't get to use very often. Enter the Essential Westerns series at the Film Forum continuing this weekend and running through the end of the month. There will be enough tumbleweed and lone gunmen blowing through the Houston Street film theater to sooth any chapped hide.

This weekend take in a double bill of Shane (1953) and High Noon (1952), both pictures which really define essential in the genre. Fun Shane fact: Shorty McShort Alan Ladd, the Tom Cruise of his day, who plays the title character, a mysterious stranger who rides into town to revitalize this family, is seen either on his horse, from a distance or in a 3/4 shot cutting off his feet -- and the box he was standing on.

High Noon stars Gary Cooper in his Oscar winning role as well as the luminous Grace Kelly. Now there's a little lady who really makes a corral purdy. (Man, are we're having too much fun with these Western tropes or what?)

[pictured: production still from High Noon via Film Forum]