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Hang 'Em High (1968)

M | | Drama, Western | 31 July 1968 (USA)
When an innocent man barely survives a lynching, he returns as a lawman determined to bring the vigilantes to justice.

Director:

Ted Post

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Marshal Jed Cooper
Inger Stevens ... Rachel Warren
Ed Begley ... Captain Wilson
Pat Hingle ... Judge Fenton
Ben Johnson ... Marshal Dave Bliss
Charles McGraw ... Sheriff Ray Calhoun
Ruth White ... Madame 'Peaches' Sophie
Bruce Dern ... Miller
Alan Hale Jr. ... Matt Stone
Arlene Golonka ... Jennifer
James Westerfield ... Prisoner
Dennis Hopper ... The Prophet
L.Q. Jones ... Loomis
Michael O'Sullivan ... Francis Elroy Duffy
Joseph Sirola ... Reno
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Storyline

A band of vigilantes catch Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) and, incorrectly believing him guilty of cattle rustling and murder, hang him, and leave him for dead. But he doesn't die. He returns to his former profession of lawman to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The hanging was the best show in town. But they made two mistakes. They hung the wrong man and they didn't finish the job. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Mel Goldberg and Director Ted Post were brought back together in 2013 when they were coincidentally neighbors in rehab. They celebrated Ted's ninety-fifth birthday together. See more »

Goofs

After Cooper is cut down and is walking to the prisoner wagon, the rope and knot binding his hands changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[to a calf]
Jed Cooper: I'm gonna have to carry ya, huh?
See more »

Alternate Versions

As with many westerns at the time the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to reduce facial closeups during the opening lynching and to edit Cooper's fight with Miller. Later video/DVD releases were intact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
Music by Thomas Hastings
Sung by crowd before mass hanging
See more »

User Reviews

 
We all have our ghosts, Marshal.
31 March 2019 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Hang 'Em High is directed by ted Post and written by Leonard Freeman and Mel Goldberg. It stars Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Pat Hingle, Ed Begley, Ben Johnson, Charles McGraw, Ruth White and Bruce Dern. Music is by Dominic Frontiere and cinematography is shared by Richard H. Kline and Leonard J. South.

An innocent man survives a lynching and returns as a lawman and sets about bringing the vigilantes to justice.

After making a name in Leone's Dollars Trilogy, Eastwood returned to America and began cementing his name in the genre of film that would come to define him. Though very much an American Western, this does have Spaghetti Western tonal splinters. Story is derivative and safe, however the characterisations are not and are pungent enough to warrant viewing investment.

Unfortunately director Ted Post often lets the pace sag to unbearable levels - especially in the last third of film, it's a shame that the mooted Robert Aldrich didn't get the gig. There simply is not enough on the page to sustain the near two hour running time, with the finale proving to be a rather flat experience. The liberal stance on the death penalty is a touch heavy handed, but not so as to kill the picture since the thought process of the complexities of justice holds high interest values. Then of course there is Eastwood to lure one in.

He's not the best actor in the film, though the amorality of character he plays makes him the fascinating centre piece. Hingle steals the acting honours as the stoically forthright Judge Fenton, while Stevens also shines as Rachael Warren, a character who like Eastwood's Jed Cooper has an obsessional motive for capturing criminals in her heart. All told the perfs across the board are pitched right and good value.

I'm not sure if the fact two cinematographers were used was a job for mates scenario? Whatever though, for there's nice work here, the New Mexico locations pleasing and at the same time mood compliant for the harsher edges of the story. Frontiers's music is interesting, full of ebullience - sometimes overbearing, it strangely at times sounds familiar to some of Herrmann's compositions in the fantasy genre...

Hang 'Em High is an important entry in the Western genre library, though neither great or bad, it's still a must see for genre enthusiasts. 7/10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hang 'Em High See more »

Filming Locations:

Dona Ana, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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