Hang 'Em High

"You don't remember me, do you? When you hang a man, you better look at him."   - Cooper

release year: 1968
genre: western
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/28/13 and 1/29/06 and 1/8/99

synopsis: An innocent man is lynched and hanged...but survives. It doesn't take him long to get deputized and seek revenge on his would-be killers.

impressions: This was basically entertaining, and painted a good picture of the crappy parts of the old West. If you were innocent, sometimes you swung from the gallows anyway; if you were marginally guilty, you were likely to swing from the gallows even if someone else did the bad deed and you were simply there. Some of the characters were hard to tell apart or identify, but all in all, this was a basic revenge story with some other food for thought (namely, morals and lack thereof in the old West.) The mass hanging happens in a near-carnival atmosphere, with women and children watching and laughing as vendors sell beer and snacks. I'll tell you: if I was about to be executed in the old West, it sure would suck a lot more to die in a party atmosphere.

activation point: 31:00 - this is when wrongly-hanged Clint obtains a badge so he can get revenge

body count: 12

something this movie has that no other movie has: A guy who gets hung but survives.

acting: Clint Eastwood is good as the former lawman who knows how to get his revenge. Pat Hingle is interesting as the judge whose tough work has turned him into an unpleasant sort. Ed Begley is the leader of the group that falsely hung Clint. A young Bruce Dern is another member of that group, as are Alan Hale Jr. (the skipper from Gilligan's Island and L.Q. Jones. Dennis Hopper has a brief, bizarre appearance as a religious fanatic..

random cameo alert: Mark Lenard (who played Sarek numerous times in Star Trek) is a prosecutor during one case

final word: Good revenge western that gives you some things to think about, worth seeing.

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