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Though Hang 'Em High is a very enjoyable western, it is not without its flaws. The story is a simple one, as you would expect, but it's not always fleshed out enough and at times has a few structural problems. But the point is very clear, and this film does try to ask questions about the use of the death penalty, and what happens when you either use it to much, or don't use it enough. And, like Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, it does try to reinvent the west not as the preachy place it always seems with other films, but as a nasty place where there good and bad becomes blurred. The film stars Clint Eastwood in his usual 'Mr Cool' type of role, and he has brilliant support from Ed Begley and Pat Hingle. And watch out for the late Dennis Hopper in one of his earliest roles.
Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) is a law abiding man who has bought some cattle and is moving across country. As he does, he notices that he is being followed by a group of men led by a man called Captain Wilson (Ed Begley). The stop Cooper, before accusing him of stealing the cattle. Cooper shows them a receipt. However, they refuse to believe him so they beat him and lynch him. But even though Cooper has been hanged, he's not dead and is rescued by a Marshall. It also turns out that he is an ex lawman.
Once rescued and found innocent, Cooper takes a job as a Marshall in the Oklahoma territory and decides to exact his revenge by finding the men who attempted to lynch him. But it's not as easy as it seems, as the Judge insists he bring the man back alive so he can judge them properly. Also, as Cooper is a Marshall, he to arrest others and at times finds himself questioning those orders. In turn, this leads to a dramatic climax where Cooper finds those responsible.
There is no doubt that this is hugely enjoyable and has some brilliant and harrowing moments in it. The first scene where Cooper is lynched pretty much sets the mood of the film, and throughout this there is some great action including shootings and fightings that really do keep you glued to the screen. The film is also well paced for the majority of the time, though there is a moment in it that does slow it down. The only real problems with this film are the structure, which at times is a bit too loose, and the climax where you almost find yourself feeling that Cooper is cheated from having real justice. But, for most part, this is hugely entertaining.
This also boasts some great acting. Clint Eastwood is Clint Eastwood, the cool headed man out for revenge. But he's just so good at it, and he does steal the scenes he's in. However, for character acting, Ed Begley is outstanding as Captain Wilson. You really can feel yourself growing to hate the man as the film goes on. And Pat Hingle as the Judge also adds for some great support, making his character the lawman who has to sentence people to death, but doesn't always like it. In many ways, his character adds the most human touch to this film. He knows what he has to do, even if he doesn't always agree with it. And it has to be said that Pat Hingle really does show that.
All in all, it's a very entertaining film with plenty of action and some great acting. It may not be perfect, but don't let that put you off.
Review of "Hang 'em High", a DVD starring Clint Eastwood.
This DVD is not my usual cup of tea, I'm not a particular fan of either westerns or Clint Eastwood, but on a wet afternoon recently, we decided to pass away a few hours watching movies and this DVD had been loitering in the back of the cupboard unwatched for ages.
The DVD is one of the first 'Spaghetti Westerns' actually filmed in America. The film was also instrumental in bringing Mr Eastwood into the public eye, being one of his earlier movies. The actual movie was released back in 1968 by United Artists and in my opinion has stood the test of time.
The DVD version was released in 2000 by MGM.
Run time of this DVD is 1 hour 50 minutes and it is classified as suitable for age 18 and over.
The genre is 'Western'.
The DVD is a fairly basic one with only a few extras included such as a Making Of The Movie Trailer, Original Theatrical Trailer, Interactive Menu and Chapter Access. I have to be honest and say that I very rarely watch special features, preferring to view the movie and draw my own conclusions. I find too much in the way of technical explanations sometimes spoils the film for me. As I didn't view any of the special features, I cannot comment on them!
==Cast and director==
The starring role is that of Clint Eastwood who plays the main character, Jed Cooper.
Other actors include Ed Begley, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and Ben Johnson
The Director is Ted Post
The opening sequences show the main character, Jed Cooper, driving a herd of cattle towards a river. Jed is an ex-law man who has invested his savings in the cattle in the hope of starting a new life for himself as a rancher. Jed has purchased the cattle from a ranch but is unaware that he has been duped. The person who sold him the cattle had in fact murdered the rancher and then when Jed arrived on the scene, pretended to be the rightful owner of the animals.
As Jed is leading his beasts across the river, a posse of nine men apprehend him and accuse him of cattle rustling, Jed denies this and is subjected to a trial and subsequently hanged. The posse leave him to die, but fortunately Jed is rescued and taken to the nearby city where he is nursed back to health and then tried for cattle rustling. He is found not guilty and as he now has no savings or cattle, he is offered a post as a law man.
Jed takes the job and then decides to use his position to seek revenge on the posse members who left him for dead.
If you want to know the outcome or find out about the love interest aspect of the film, you'll have to watch it for yourself!
The film does contain some fairly gruesome scenes and strong language, therefore the 18+ rating is in my opinion justified.
==Availability and cost==
I truly don't recall where we got this DVD or how much it cost, knowing me, not very much! However, a quick web search shows that www.amazon.co.uk are offering used editions of the DVD from 48p
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
I genuinely enjoyed this DVD AS I have stated earlier in the review, I am not a fan of Westerns or indeed Mr Eastwood, yet I found this film rather compelling and the storyline good. The acting was better than in many westerns and I would recommend this film as an excellent way to pass a couple of hours even if Like me you are not 'into' westerns!
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 July 2009
also posted on ciao.co.uk under same user name
Clint Eastwood ; Inger Stevens ; Ed Begley ; Pat Hingle ; Ben Johnson ; Charles McGraw ; Ruth White ; Bruce Dern ; Dennis Hopper
Director: Ted Post
Certificate: 18 years and over
Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes (approx)
About the Film:
This is one of Clint Eastwood's great westerns. The story is quite simple, Jed Cooper (Played by Clint) is mistaken for a killer and as rustler when he is caught driving a Herd of cattle.
Captain Wilson and his vigilantes then Hang Jed Cooper before fleeing when they are disturbed. The only problem is that they left Jed alive. He is taken to the Capital city where he plans to seek his revenge. He is however offered the job of deputy marshall to clean up the area and bring in justice to the men who hung him.
The story continues with Jed Cooper tracking down the men who Lynched him and gaining his revenge, but all within the law as well as including a little love story which progresses as well.
Now where do I begin with a review about Hang em High.
First I would say that this is an excellent western with Clint's performance being outstanding. This is not the same type of film like the spaghetti westerns that he has done (like "A few dollars more" or " A Fistfull of Dollars" or "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly") however it is still an excellent western with a great story.
Clints performance as the wronged man gaining revenge is really good and he plays his part really well. The baddies are well kinda not that terrible. I must admit that I have always felt a little sympathy with the Lynch Mob in this film, because although they are tough and nearly lynced the wrong man, they are not completely evil. Overall the characters are portrayed well and the story runs very well.
Now the story is good although simple. Good Man, is taken for Evil Man, survives and Hunts down Mob who tried to kill him. That is basically it and without Clint Eastwood's performance would at best be an OK film. However with everything taken in account, this is indeed well worth seeing.
So what drawbacks should I draw my readers to, firstly I would state that this is a Western. So, and I am aware that this is really really obvious but I will mention it anyway, if you do not like Westerns then stay away from this film. I would also mention that there is a Love interest in this film, and although it does not detract that much from the film, I am aware that some people do not like Love stories in Western. Therefore bear this in mind should you be considering this film.
I should also mention that I love Westerns, and personally think that Clint Eastwood westerns are some of the best around. This is not his best western for certain (I would state that honour has to go to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) but it is good with some excellent shoot them up scenes and other entertaining scenes.
Please do note that this film was made in 1968 and therefore is quite an old film. I mention this as if you are looking for some of the modern style films with loads of Blood and Gore and such things then you will be disappointed with this film. This is an old style western with good clean dialogue, the right amount of violence without the Blood & Gore and all in all a great film to watch.
There is action in this film from the very beginning, gets moving at a good rate, slows down a tiny bit in the middle before finishing excellently.
All in all I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys westerns and Clint Eastwood Films.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
As the movie title suggests, this film is about hanging - and hanging more than one person. This brutal movie, set in 1889 elvoves around ex-lawman Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) which in the opening scene, gets star chamber justice from a linch mob and is hung for cattle rustling. Cut down by a Fort Grande Marshal, Coopers's Story checks out and is employed as a Marshal and that ends my comments on the film storyline, not wanting to give anything away. As is typical in an Eastwood movie, there are some wonderful one-liners and some familular faces from some of other Eastwood flicks appear (if memory serves, this was the first movie from his own movie firm the Malpaso Company). He portrays a very hardman but unlike the other Westerns, he doesn't do his flash gun twirling before putting his revolver back in the holster. One liners yes, cliches no. It is a powerful movie that has some black humour in places in and around the time of the "last request" from a multiple hanging. There is also some highly moving dialogue in the same scene but I won't put it here - even if I did, it would be extremely difficult to describe the emotion from the scene in question. At the time of the movie, public executions were viewed in almost the same light as a football match is today. Mass crowds, refreshments, everything. This is what one would call "modern history" and this sort of macbre interest is still in the human lust of wanting to see criminals dispatched to the next life (or state-sponsored murder as some would say, including myself). This well acted and directed movie is one of the best from Malpaso and is well worth watching. Frequently shown on TV (as far as I know, it's only been on ITV so you will have to put up with the advert breaks). Or you could buy it as it is in the budget video range, six or seven quid max.
After starring in the now-legendary Dollars trilogy of spaghetti Westerns for Italian director Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood became a box-office star and imported the style of those classic shoot-em-ups for this 1967 Western directed by Ted Post, with whom Eastwood had worked during their days on the television series Rawhide. Eastwood plays an innocent rancher who is mistaken for a cattle rustler and sentenced to hang by an angry mob. When he is saved from the noose by a passing lawman, he embarks on a renegade campaign of vengeance against the men who attempted to lynch him. Hang 'Em High offers a number of memorable moments and stylistic flourishes, and features a superb supporting cast of Western veterans, including Ben Johnson, Ed Begley, Pat Hingle, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, LQ Jones, and the "Skipper" himself, Alan Hale Jr Made just three years before Dirty Harry, the film marked a turning point for Eastwood, who would soon move into a prolific period of contemporary thrillers. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com