In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Hang 'em High

  |  

In a way, it's a relief that Clint Eastwood is back home again. In "A Fistful of Dollars" and its two sequels, he shot apart just about every low-budget location in Spain, southern Italy and Sicily. Wherever extras could be hired for 50 cents a day, there you found The Man With No Name.

The supporting actors in these Italian-made movies didn't speak English too well, which probably was a qualification in the original West. They were dirty, sweaty, mean and obscene and scratched a lot and were always spitting all over everything.

Advertisement

What a mess! Sergio Leone, the Italian director who created the sweat, scab and beer school of Westerns, liked to linger on close-ups of horrible wounds and sadistic grins. His favorite camera angle was right behind a boot kicking Clint Eastwood.

But now Eastwood has made the big time, and Hollywood has brought him back home to star in "Hang 'em High." You can tell it's a Hollywood Western because Inger Stevens lives in the boarding house and Ed Begley is shaking his fist at the hero even before the titles begin.

I have come to the conclusion that Ed Begley is in every movie made and Inger Stevens is in every other Western. Begley is a superb character actor, almost a national monument, and you wouldn't think it was a real Western town if Begley wasn't in it.

Miss Stevens, on the other hand, seems to have nailed down the boarding house role. She was a widow boardinghouse operator in "Firecreek" and a lady barber and boarding house operator (with a heart of gold) in "Five Card Stud." This time she boards in the boarding house. These roles always give her at least one chance to sit by the bed of the wounded man and nurse him back to life.

As was the case with the Italian Westerns, "Hang 'em High" is a revenge story. Eastwood is strung up by a lynching mob, led by Begley. But he's cut down and vows to revenge himself. The friendly hanging judge of the nearby town (Pat Hingle) pins a badge on Eastwood, and he dutifully, sets out to gather enough scabs, scars, blisters and rope burns to satisfy the sado-masochistic standards set by Leone.

He does a pretty good job. Begley and Stevens add tone to the cast, and Hingle comes over like an especially earnest Karl Malden. The moral of the story is vaguely against capital punishment, and there's a lot of that thin, windblown guitar twanging for you thin, wind-blown guitar twanging fans.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus