HANG 'EM HIGH: DVD
Oklahoma, 1873: cowpoke and ex-lawman Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood), mistaken for a murderous rustler, is lynched on the spot by crooked lawman Captain Wilson (Ed Begley) and a rampaging band of vigilantes. But as Wilson and his gang flee the scene, there's one very important detail they've overlooked: Cooper is not dead. Out for justice - and vengeance - Cooper takes on the job of Deputy Marshal ... and, one by one, tracks down the nine men who "done him wrong."
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This is the film that brought Clint Eastwood (and his reefer smoking habit) back from Sergio Leoneland to Hollywood, his first US role after the Fistful of Dollars films and The Good The Bad And The Ugly. Also notable for a spectacular cameo by Dennis Hopper as a crazed prisoner. But for anyone who loves Westerns, it's more about the story and the characters. And the action.
Clint Eastwood is economically and efficiently cool as the wronged man seeking a justice-delivered revenge, in a performance that belongs squarely in the middle of his career. Ed Begley and Pat Hingle are solid in major support roles, and the women are also excellent: Inger Stevens and Ruth White in particular, while Ted Post's direction neatly propels the story.
Classic close ups and familiar settings in the ageing West add texture, but it's the story that really hooks us, as Jed Cooper balances his revenge against his lawman instincts. Cinematographers Richard Kline and Leonard South grab some well constructed frames and their no-frills approach works for the film's tone.
Although it's not one of the great Westerns, it's a decent addition to the genre, with its moral editorial stand against capital punishment. The scenes of celebration before a multiple hanging, for example, a couple of speeches by Jed Cooper and the cause of the action at the start (wrongful lynching) all serve to mount a strong case. And the grizly details of the hangings serve to ram home the humanist point.
Published May 21, 2009
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HANG 'EM HIGH: DVD (M)
CAST: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Ed Begley, Ben Johnson, Charles McGraw, Ruth White, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper, James MacArthur
PRODUCER: Leonard Freeman
DIRECTOR: Ted Post
SCRIPT: Leonard Freeman, Mel Goldberg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Kline, Leonard South
EDITOR: Gene Fowler Jr
MUSIC: Dominic Frontiere
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Goodman
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: Original theatrical trailer; languages: English, German, French, Italian, Castellan; [subtitles in English, German, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Norwegian,, Polish, Suomi ]
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox
DVD RELEASE: 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.