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Author Topic: Hang' Em High is highly underrated...  (Read 5931 times)
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2019, 08:37:00 AM »

You know, when I read this thread my first thought was "Hang em high? Whatever!!" I really in my mind dismissed it, initially.

But when I REMEMBERED how impacting the movie was, I had to take a breath and respond to this.

As far as western movies go, Hang em High was a top five movie of ALL of them, even if I don't rate it a top five of Clint Eastwood westerns.

It humanized capital punishment, which was a scary thing. It is easy when you believe bad guys get what they deserve, its different when you hear someone whimpering in fear because the hood has been put over their head by the hangman.

Or the scene where the brother says goodbye to the other one before they are hung...JESUS that still gives me chills.

Thats regarding the message of the movie, getting into the gristle of the movie is a seperate critique.

This was really Clints first walk away from the "Man with no name" type character he was used to playing, and it was a little awkward for me seeing him that way. Clean shaven, highly moraled, non ambiguous. I didnt really think it was a character he was made to play. Quite a bit of his western personas arent about what you see, or what he says, its about what you DONT see and what he DOESNT say.
All of that to basically say, I wasnt really comfortable with Clint being the "white hat" good guy, even if he did play it well for the movie, it wasnt really..."him" least to me.

For me this movie was made by an outstanding supporting cast that took away the notion that you were watching Clint out of his element...and it was very well cast.

The storyline in itself is worth praise, high praise. That frontier justice was often very cruel and unjust, and that good people died at the hands of a madman judge, like real life judge Roy Bean who was called "The hanging judge" because that was his solution to everything, no matter how slight or small the infraction.

Clear message, challenging premise, moral dilemma, strong cast....definitely a GRADE A western, above many, IMO.

Very good write up.  It IS a impactful film.  I also agree its one of the better CAST Westerns.  One more thing.  You said that this is a western with Clint acting out of his normal bad guy element as a white hat.  I kinda disagree.  Though he played "bad" characters in the Leone films, he was still considered the hero or at least the least bad of the bad, lol.
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