6.3/10
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21 user 6 critic

Good Day for a Hanging (1959)

Approved | | Western | January 1959 (USA)
After claiming his daughter's childhood-sweetheart killed the marshal, one man finds himself in conflict with his daughter, his fiancée and many of the townsfolk.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marshal Ben Cutler
...
Ruth Granger (as Maggie Hayes)
...
...
Laurie Cutler
...
Paul Ridgely
Wendell Holmes ...
Tallant Joslin
Edmon Ryan ...
William P. Selby, Attorney
...
Coley
Kathryn Card ...
Molly Cain
...
Marshal Hiram Cain
...
George Fletcher
...
Harry Landers
...
Deputy Ed Moore
...
Deputy William Avery
...
Olson
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Storyline

It's been more than twenty years since Ben Cutler (Fred MacMurray) wore a badge, but when the town's bank gets robbed, he joins the posse. After the chase, where he saw Marshal Cain (Emile Meyer) get killed, he can't say "no" when the town asks him to take over the Marshal's duties. However, that same town starts to turn against him when he takes his new duties seriously by arresting and testifying against the killer... a boy, Eddie 'The Kid' Campbell (Robert Vaughn), who grew up in this town and comes from a broken home, garnering the sympathy of the townsfolk, who'd rather believe one of the other escaped bank robbers shot the sheriff. This is compounded by his daughter, who still has a crush on Eddie, even though after his mother died two years ago, he left town with not a word to her since. She, too, is convinced that Eddie is still that good little boy everyone remembers, and can't believe he's been changed, by his new life of riding with outlaws. Written by AzRanger {ArizonaRanger @ Hotmail . com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Kid Could Kill You... With a Smile! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Dois Passos da Forca  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(ColumbiaColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theme song for 3.10 To Yuma [1957] is played frequently here especially in scenes involving Vaughan and Blackman See more »

Goofs

At the climax, the lamp hanging from the ceiling of the jail swings with a period of about 2 seconds which mean that the rope from which it hangs was 1m long (which makes for an unusually tall ceiling). Shortly after it swings with a period of 1 second which would mean the rope was shortened to 0.25m. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Granger: Eddie is just a boy. Tom was killed by a hardened criminal.
Ben Cutler: Do you think this kid is any less hardened? Since when is a young rattlesnake any less poisonous than an old one?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Eastern/Western
8 May 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

On a peaceful day in a small western town in Nebraska in 1878, a bank robbery occurs and Marshal Emile Meyer is killed pursuing the gang. But citizen Fred MacMurray, a former marshal, kills one of the gang and wounds the one who he saw shoot Meyer.

It was Robert Vaughn a young kid who was a former resident of the town who left some years earlier. It's now obvious what he took up doing after he left. MacMurray's daughter Joan Blackman is kind of fond of Vaughn even though she's been keeping company with the young town doctor, James Drury.

Good Day For Hanging has some good intentions and other reviewers have faulted for having the cast speak in modern idiom. That's not the film's problems, it's trying to graft a 20th century urban plot on a 19th century rural western situation.

Try as I may, I can't believe that these frontier townspeople are so squeamish about hanging this punk. Even as Vaughn claims, he did not do the actual shooting of Meyer, he's as guilty of the murder of this peace officer whether he pulled the trigger or not. The attitude expressed in such films as True Grit and Hang 'Em High is far more typical of the times than Good Day For A Hanging.

Of course in all this MacMurray is called to put on badge again and it's his testimony that actually convicts Vaughn. Still public opinion gradually turns against him for what I can see, no discernible reason. The controversy puts a strain on his relationship with Blackman as well as with fiancé Margaret Hayes.

Best performances in the supporting cast are from Edmon Ryan who plays more of a modern defense lawyer in this western. Still he does do a fine job. And I particularly liked Kathryn Card as Meyer's widow. Her scenes count and you will remember her performance over everyone else's in Good Day For A Hanging.

Fred MacMurray was not overly fond of westerns. In his salad days with Paramount he only did one, The Texas Rangers and during the fifties he did a few of them before becoming a Disney star. His famous quote was that he never felt at one with the horse'. His riding scenes were probably doubled, but in the scenes in town MacMurray acquits himself admirably.

But this one in the last analysis was an eastern/western.


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