7.2/10
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47 user 21 critic

The Hanging Tree (1959)

Not Rated | | Western | 20 February 1959 (Japan)
Character study of a Doctor who saves a local criminal from a mob who are trying to hang him, but then tries to control the life of the young man, realizing that he can exploit his secret.

Directors:

Delmer Daves, Karl Malden (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Wendell Mayes (screenplay), Halsted Welles (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Dr. Joseph 'Doc' Frail
Maria Schell ... Elizabeth Mahler
Karl Malden ... Frenchy Plante
George C. Scott ... George Grubb
Karl Swenson ... Tom Flaunce
Virginia Gregg ... Edna Flaunce
John Dierkes ... Society Red
King Donovan ... Wonder
Ben Piazza ... Rune
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Storyline

In 1873, on the Gold Trail, Montana, the mysterious and controlling Dr. Joseph Frail arrives in the small town of Skull Creek with miners in a gold rush. Dr. Frail buys a cabin on the top of a hill and he sees the smalltime thief Rune wounded and chased by a mob that wants to hang him. Dr. Frail helps and heals Rune; but in return, he demands that the young man becomes his bond servant. The alcoholic healer and preacher George Grubb tells to the locals that Dr. Frail, who is an excellent gambler and gunfighter, is a devil and has a mysterious past but nobody gives attention to his words. Soon the stagecoach is robbed by thieves that kill the passengers but the coachman survives and three days later he reaches Skull Creek. He tells that the horses had speed down the hill with a young woman inside the stagecoach. The men organize a pursuit and the rude Frenchy Plante finds the Swedish Elizabeth Mahler burnt and blind. Dr. Frail and Rune take care of her and they learn that Elizabeth and... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From The Prize Novel -- A Picture Of Thundering Power! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Árvore dos Enforcados See more »

Filming Locations:

Nile, Washington, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Baroda,Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of George C. Scott. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Frail returns home from the first poker game he reveals to Rune that they are going to start a new "regime" for their daily activities. A regime is a prevailing form of government. What he should have said was "regimen" which is a regulated course of living. See more »

Quotes

Society Red: [after being knocked to the ground by an angry Frail after making a reference to Frail's past] I ain't gonna slap no leather with you, Doc Frail.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lost L.A.: Wild West (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

L'arbre aux pendus
Written by Mack David, Jerry Livingston and Boris Vian (french dubbed version)
performed by Juan Catalano (french version)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating Western of the Gold Rush wave!
16 July 1999 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

There was stars and superstars, and then there are the handful by whose success one may understand the nature of the movies' massive appeal to the public... One of these rare people was Gary Cooper, a forever reliable cowboy who remained the strong fairly silent, man of action...

Cooper plays Doc Joe Frail, a frontier doctor running away from a personal tragedy... He now takes his Hippocratic oath with a little gambling and gunfighting in Skull Creek, a wild gold camp in the territory of Montana...

Cooper saves an accused thief from a posse and, after healing the young Rune (Ben Piazza), they become friends... Next the Doc treats a young Swiss girl, Elizatbeth Mahler (Maria Schell), for shock and blindness suffered from exposure to the sun after a stage holdup...

After succeeding in getting her sight back, Elizabeth was already in love with Frail... The doctor tries not to sound his feelings about her... Something was troubling his conscience deeply... He certainly hides a mysterious past...

Frail aids Elizabeth in a grubstake and, with her partners Frenchy and Rune, she soon strikes it rich... Frenchy tries to force his attentions on Elizabeth, but just then Doc Frail rides up...

Karl Malden is excellent as Frenchy, the hypocrite opportunistic, the person without scruples willing to make Elizabeth believes that he cares for her, and is after her love, not after her gold... Malden is very good as a supporting actor... He proved it in "The Gunfighter," with Gregory Peck, in "One-Eyed Jacks," with Marlon Brando, and in "Nevada Smith," with Steve McQueen...

In his film debut, George C. Scott portrays the poisonous bible-punching drunk who incites and excites the whole town to carry Cooper to the hanging tree...

Jerry Livingston's Title Song won an Academy Award Nomination...


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