Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hang 'Em High (1968)

Director: Ted Post

Writers: Leonard Freeman, Mel Goldberg

Composer: Dominic Frontiere

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Ed Begley, Pat Hingle, Ben Johnson, Charles McGraw, Ruth White, Bruce Dern, Alan Hale Jr., Arlene Golonka, James Westerfield, Dennis Hopper, L.Q. Jones, Michael O'Sullivan, Joseph Sirola, James MacArthur, Bob Steele, Bert Freed

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Eastwood is Judge, Jury and Executioner!

Plot: When an innocent man barely survives a lynching, he returns as a lawman determined to bring the vigilantes to justice.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

If you were to make a list of the top actors suited for the Western genre then the top five would likely include Clint Eastwood for the majority.  He owns this genre and he's fantastic in this.  The premise is great but it's the final third of the story that brings this picture to a numbing halt.  The film's almost two hours long (a good twenty minutes longer than it needs to be) and the amount of time spent in the town waiting for the 6 person hanging is unnecessarily wrong.  I completely understand the reason why we spend so much time with it but it seems like they could have done it in a more curt way.  And then there's the romance between Cooper (Eastwood) and Rachel (Stevens) which goes on for far too long.  Again, it's clear why this subplot exists but did it have to go on for so long?  The picture is gangbusters action for more than an hour and then these two dragging sections are back to back creating one long drag just before it gets back to the action and quickly wraps up.  I do like the dour ending.  Dominic Frontiere's score might sound hokey but it's a lot of fun.  And it's great seeing Alan Hale Jr. in a menacing role.  The acting all around is great.  Pat Hingle has a sizable role and his scenes with Eastwood are outstanding.  It's a fun flick but be prepared for the quicksand.

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