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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hang 'em High - Eastwood's excellent first American western!
Surprisingly enough, I'd never seen this Clint Eastwood masterpiece before. This was a regrettable mistake as it is a great western. Hang `em High is Clint Eastwood's first American "spaghetti" western and undoubtedly the one that furthered his launch into mega stardom. Upon excitedly opening the DVD case and placing the DVD into the player, one discovers that the only...
Published on April 5, 2003 by K. Wyatt

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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truncated image in both wide and std versions
I love the film but... We get a two sides dvd, labeled "standard" and "widescreen". Standard has 640x480 pixels video, 4:3 aspect ratio, and widescreen 853x480 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio. This is great, but the problem is both versions are truncated versions of the original. The widescreen is even more truncated ! If you compare two images, Clint has some blue sky above is...
Published on July 28, 2008 by Demont


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hang 'em High - Eastwood's excellent first American western!, April 5, 2003
By 
K. Wyatt "ssintrepid" (Cape Girardeau, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
Surprisingly enough, I'd never seen this Clint Eastwood masterpiece before. This was a regrettable mistake as it is a great western. Hang `em High is Clint Eastwood's first American "spaghetti" western and undoubtedly the one that furthered his launch into mega stardom. Upon excitedly opening the DVD case and placing the DVD into the player, one discovers that the only special feature is a theatrical trailer. This is fine, as one doesn't truly purchase these DVD's for special features as much as they do for the movie. While watching the theatrical trailer, I got the impression that this movie seemed as though it might lack the "true grit" style of his previous spaghetti westerns; this impression couldn't have been farther off though. Hang `em High has a truly well written script and is played perfectly by all involved.
The premise:
Clint Eastwood plays Jed Cooper, a former law man from St. Louis, MO. As the movie begins, we see him herding cattle past a river and he's approached by nine riders. We soon learn that Jed thought he'd purchased these cattle honestly, but the person he bought them from was a criminal and now Jed's going to pay for it because these nine riders are a lynch mob and they intend to hang Jed.
Fortunately for Jed, a law man comes by and cuts him down from the tree before he dies and throws him in the wagon with a bunch of other criminals headed towards the only court in the Oklahoma territory and run by the "Hanging Judge." As luck would have it though, his story checks out and the judge offers him a job as a Federal Marshal. What follows is a great western filled with Clint Eastwood's "true grit" western hero style as he sets out for vengeance upon those who attempted but failed to hang him.
I would highly recommend this outstanding western for those who favor this genre heavily or casually and especially for those who are Eastwood fans! {ssintrepid}
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Western!, November 30, 2002
By 
Eric V. Moye (New York, by way of Dallas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
Along with the Sergio Leone trilogy, this movie helped make the Clint Eastwood legend. It is the simplest story line (after love) - revenge. Eastwood is an everyman, just a rancher. He buys some cattle from a passing drive, only to learn they are stolen. The true owners come along, and hang him before the truth can be ascertained. A passing lawman finds him swinging from a tree, saves his life and puts him in a jail wagon until his story can be figured out. The rest of the movie is Eastwood's tracking down those bad guys (not relevant is the fact that for the most part they are "good and true citizens") and bringing them to justice; either at the jailhouse or by his bullets. And Eastwood revenge is something else - he even shoots the dog!
Eastwood's character, Marshall Cooper is another strong and silent type, just like "The Man With No Name" whom we have come to expect in the Leone westerns. Unlike the spaghetti westerns, though, this time while he is again basically a good guy, he is now on the establishment side.
Eastwood is joined by a positively fabulous supporting cast: Western veterans Ben Johnson and Ed Begley, Pat Hingle as a true hangin' judge, Dennis Hopper (who is such a psycho even then, we are glad to see that he is the first guy killed in the film), Bruce Dern, L.Q. Jones. Surprising appearances are entered by Gilligan's Skipper, Alan Hale and Steve McGarrett's Five-0 sidekick "Dano", James McArthur. And for the true Star Trek cognoscenti, we have an appearance by Mark Leonard, who gave up his job as Oklahoma Territory Prosecuting Attorney to become Sarek, a/k/a Father of Spock.
Unlike some other reviewers, I found the more polished (as opposed to the Leone western trilogy) soundtrack superior to the movies which had preceded it. I also thought the cinematography supeerior here, with some breathtaking vistas.

Lots of reviewers dog this one out for not being up to the standards of the Leone trilogy. However, I think it is their equal, because the characters have more depth. Maybe I am just not the fan of minimalist genre of S. Leone. Nonetheless, I particularly find the bad guys are more complex than any in the spaghetti westerns, and I find this more pleasing.
It is one of my very favorite shoot-em-ups. As reviewer L.S.W. says, western fans need this movie.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent western, but mediocre transfer..., June 27, 2011
This review is from: Hang 'Em High [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"Hang 'Em High" (1968) is directed by Ted Post (Magnum Force, The Harrad Experiment, Beneath the Panet of the Apes). Clint Eastwood stars as Jed Cooper, a man who is lynched by a gang even though he was innocent of the accusations of murder and cattle rustling. When Jed manages to survive the hanging and is subsequently freed of any crimes he enlists as a US Marshal and hunts down the gang that lynched him. The film itself pits Jed's moral views of justice and fairness against the backdrop of the harsh morality as served by Judge Adam Fenton (Pat HIngle) at Fort Grant.
The film entertains us even as it tells us a story about courage and varying opinions about morality.

The blu-ray has not been remastered, and has many instances of dust. Also, the clarity of the images are not much better than a dvd, and sometimes the color is off and lacks saturation, but overall the film is quite watchable.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truncated image in both wide and std versions, July 28, 2008
By 
Demont (Rennes, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
I love the film but... We get a two sides dvd, labeled "standard" and "widescreen". Standard has 640x480 pixels video, 4:3 aspect ratio, and widescreen 853x480 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio. This is great, but the problem is both versions are truncated versions of the original. The widescreen is even more truncated ! If you compare two images, Clint has some blue sky above is hat in standard, and you see only half of his hat in widescreen ! I say it this way to makes things clear, but I'm a tech oriented guy, I checked twice what really was on this dvd before writing this review.
The 16:9 version is cropped from the 4:3 ! This means both versions are missing the sides of the original wide image, but you see more of the original on the 4:3 ! It's a pity to see such classics so poorly transfered to DVD. We need a new edition with all the original image.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hang 'Em High in Blu, June 5, 2010
By 
Erik Rupp (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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Hang 'Em High was the first Hollywood film that Clint Eastwood starred in as the leading man. It followed up his three, "Spaghetti Westerns," made with Sergio Leone, and the style of those films is adapted somewhat to the more traditional Hollywood Western style. You could call this one a bit of a hybrid between those two styles.

The script is excellent, the cast is fantastic, and the direction is solid. This is a great Western.

The Blu Ray is very good. The DVD was a bit disappointing with colors that smeared a little, lots of print damage and dust, and a picture that wasn't very crisp and clear. The Blu Ray, on the other hand, has very little of that print damage remaining. The colors are sharp and don't bleed. The picture is significantly crisper and cleaner. The improvement is easily noticeable when compared back to back.

If you like Clint Eastwood or Westerns (and especially if you like both), then this movie is highly recommended. (And the Blu Ray comes with the DVD as a bonus in case you want to watch it in a room where you don't have a Blu Ray player yet.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A smart, compelling western that exceeds expectations, July 31, 2005
By 
C. Wynes (Dyersburg, TN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
A good western is about two themes: violence and justice. "Hang 'em High", mostly overlooked beneath the shadow of Eastwood's work with Sergio Leone of the same period, is a surprisingly deep examination of these themes as they play out in pre-statehood Oklahoma.

The film works through three different storylines, all of which come together to address the primary theme of the picture.

The central storyline is a simple revenge tale. Eastwood's character, former lawman Jed Cooper, is wrongfully hanged by a gang of nine vigilantes. Saved from death by an honest marshall, Cooper becomes a lawman once again as deputy marshall in the Oklahoma Territory. With the blessing of the territory's judge, he embarks on a mission to round up those who were responsible for his hanging.

Along the way, he pursues and apprehends three cattle rustlers who had done murder. Among them are two young men who claim they had nothing to do with the decision to murder the man, and the two cooperate with Cooper's effort to bring all three men to town to face justice. The mob that helped him catch the men had wanted to hang them on the spot, but Cooper insisted that they be taken into custody and brought before a court of law. Back in town, Cooper stands up for the two young men and doesn't want to see them hanged. The judge sees things differently: the people demand justice as they see it, and the way they see it is through a hanging. If the judge doesn't hang them all, then the people will take the law into their own hands, just as they did wrongfully try to hang Cooper himself.

The third storyline is that of the pretty, young blond girl. The jailors and lawmen are all under orders to let her examine every outlaw brought into town. She later reveals that she's looking for two men in particular, two men who had done her a great wrong in the past.

In large part, this is a film about the death penalty and the merits of the retributivist theory of justice. If the girl were to find those two men, would their hanging do her any good? What if she never found them? Does Cooper need to find the men who've done him wrong? What to do with those he does find?

Whether men are hanged or spared their lives, there are consequences. There are consequences both for individuals seeking justice, and for society as a whole. There are consequences for those who perpetrate violence and those who are victimized by it. "Hang 'em High" engages the viewer on these subjects, and in so doing exceeds the expectation that it is just another shoot-'em-up gunslinger picture.

The musical score, an integral part of any good western, both hits and misses. It hits with a great, memorable theme. You probably have heard the theme even if you've never seen the film. The score misses, however, by muddying up the theme with the full orchestration commonplace in MGM studio pictures of the time. In many places, the score sounds like it was yanked directly out of "Star Wars", and the music produces a mood that doesn't fit with the film.

Overall, this is a western that does all the typically western elements right. It surpasses expectations by delivering on an engaging storyline about the ethics of justice. "Hang 'em High" is an excellent film. I'm compelled to drop it down to 4 stars, however, by the way that it stumbles about for the first 30 minutes or so trying to find its groove, and by the way the score seems misplaced in those early scenes. It fully recovers and becomes a great western, but doesn't quite reach the heights of perfection reached by "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" or "A Fistful of Dollars."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Clint Eastwood Movie, November 20, 2005
This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) was herding cattle when a group of men came on him suddenly. The men ask Jed where he got the cattle. In spite of Jed's law enforcement background and a signed bill of sale, the men think that Jed killed the owner of the cattle and stole them. The men hang Jed. Unfortunately for the men who hung Jed, they did a poor job.

After another lawman rescues him, Jed becomes a federal marshal working for Judge Adam Fenton (Pat Hingle). Much of the interaction between Judge Fenton and Marshal Cooper involves Coopers killing of many of the men he encounters (which tends to be a theme in Clint Eastwood movies anyway). Marshal Cooper is relentless in the search for bad guys, most especially the lynch mob that did a bad job of hanging him. Unfortunately, sometimes these men do not want to go with him and he has to give them a little Jed Cooper justice on the spot.

During the course of this movie we meet a host of names that were famous in the 50s and 60s, and a couple that became more famous after the movie. Inger Stevens plays the enigmatic and beautiful Rachel Warren. Ed Begley (father of Ed Begley, Jr. and a veteran actor of film and television) plays Captain Wilson, the head of the lynch mob. Ben Johnson plays Marshal Dave Bliss, who is the man who rescues Jed Cooper. Bruce Dern and Alan Hale, both veterans of westerns, are also part of the hanging party. Dennis Hopper and James McArthur also have relatively minor parts in this 1968 film.

This film was an excellent film for Clint Eastwood. He appeared in three 1968 films, the other two being "Coogan's Bluff" and "Where Eagles Dare." "Where Eagles Dare" is a better movie, but Eastwood's acting in that movie was relatively limited. Eastwood's role in "Coogan's Bluff" was somewhat stereotypical and not one of Eastwood's better films. However, "Hang `Em High" is already a classic western and one of the best of Eastwood's early U.S. films in that it allowed Eastwood to demonstrate that he could act. Fans of Clint Eastwood and westerns will want this movie for their collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eastwood, home on the American range, December 2, 2003
This review is from: Hang 'Em High (DVD)
After earning major stardom with Sergio Leone's spaghetti western trilogy, Clint Eastwood turned down both Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" and Carl Foreman's "MacKenna's Gold" to star in and co-produce this tightly scripted, well-acted western directed by "Gunsmoke" veteran Ted Post. It proved a good choice. If not a masterpiece on the order of Leone's film, or a star studded spectacular like Foreman's offering, "Hang 'Em High" was something the other two were not: a hit. It's also intelligent and makes some interesting if subtle comments on the meaning of justice. The clean-shaven Eastwood is fine as Jed Cooper, a former marshal who once more wears a badge to hunt down the men who hanged him as an alleged cattle thief, but Pat Hingle as a hanging judge who is even more vengeance minded than Eastwood offers the standout performance. Bruce Dern, Bob Steele, Ben Johnson, Joe Sirola, Dennis Hopper, and Alan Hale, Jr. (yes, the Skipper from "Gilligan's Island") are among the notable character actors who appear throughout, and Dominic Frontiere's music score, including the title theme that would go on to be a hit for Booker T and the MGs, is excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray welcome, though not restored, January 24, 2014
By 
Brian (Jersey City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hang 'Em High [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It's evident from the opening sequence of the near-classic western 'Hang 'Em High' (Malpaso/MGM, 1968) that no real effort was made by MGM/Fox to restore for Blu-ray the ragged source print of Clint Eastwood's powerful American-film debut (in a starring role, anyway) that's been circulating on VHS and DVD for decades now. The same artifacts, color fading and even some ugly splicing-- particularly noticeable in the first reel-- that plagued previous releases appear and re-appear at those odd, familiar moments throughout. On the positive side, and on balance, it's still a treat watching HEH in hi-def. The expansive, sunwashed New Mexico exteriors are crisper and brighter than ever, and the audio is crystal clear. Also disappointing is the absence of extras. Movie rates 3 1/2 stars, BD 3.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (BLU RAY REVIEW) Clint Eastwood's first film as a "movie star.", September 6, 2014
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This review is from: Hang 'Em High [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After Clint Eastwood concluded his "Man With No Name" trilogy in Italy, he returned to Hollywood a movie star. His first U. S. film was another Western, but one with more dialog and an underlying theme (capital punishment).

Eastwood plays a former lawman named Jed Cooper who is now trying to set himself up in Oklahoma as a rancher. Having bought a herd of cattle he is moving them by to his ranch when he is confronted by 9 men on the prairie. Led by Captain Wilson (Ed Begley), Cooper is accused of murdering the man who allegedly sold him the cattle. Even with a bill of sale, he's strung up and left for dead. Minutes later Cooper is rescued from the noose by Marshal Bliss (Ben Johnson), who is in the process of transferring a half dozen prisoners back to the territorial capital. Bliss tosses Cooper in with the others.

Cooper is eventually cleared of wrong doing by the territories' hanging Judge Fenton (Pat Hingle). Fenton offers Cooper a job as marshal with the condition that he actually bring back the bad guys to be hanged rather than shooting them himself. He agrees and sets out to find the 9 men who took the law into their own hands.

Eastwood's Cooper isn't the same character as the one he played so well in Leone's spaghetti westerns. He's a bit more polished and not quite as vengeful. Yet he does have a mean streak and is just as resilient. Inger Stevens, who would die just a couple years later at age 35, gives a wooden performance as Rachel Warren, a love interest of Cooper's. She checks out all the men brought to prison hoping to find the 2 men who killed her husband and raped her...I mean had their way with her. She is generally repelled by men as a result and is slow to accept Cooper's modest advances. That all changes after Cooper is gunned down by Wilson and 2 of his henchmen and she nurses him back to health.

There is some interesting byplay between Cooper and Judge Fenton when Cooper questions the rationale for bringing men back for trial, only to be hung. Fenton explains that hanging them proves to the citizenry that justice is just as swift and conclusive as taking the law into their own hands. In fact, the executions are a big event for the folks in the territory. People gather from miles around to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of a public hanging.

Ardent movie watchers will also spot Bruce Dern as one of the gang that hangs Cooper, along with long-time western actor Bob Steele and a brief cameo by Dennis Hopper. Eastwood gives an excellent performance. Director Ted Post keeps the camera close on Eastwood's face in numerous scenes, provided an opportunity for some nuanced reactions. While "Hang `em High" isn't Eastwood's best movie or even best performance, it is a nice stepping stone for his long career and certainly worth a look.

The Blu ray transfer is a big upgrade from the DVD. It maintains the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and comes in 1080p resolution. Although this isn't a frame-by-frame restoration it still looks very good. Colors and skin tones appear authentic. Black levels are good as is the detail. The only abnormality I noticed come with a couple scene changes where the color intensity is inconsistent. No biggie. The audio redirects the original mono sound into 5.1 courtesy of DTS-HD Master Audio. There are limits of course but the lossless track provides good reproduction of the film's musical score. Surrounds come into play mostly with the large crowd scenes and during the gun battles. If you are a purist, a mono Dolby Digital 2.0 option is available. Subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish. The disc is devoid of extras.
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Hang 'Em High
Hang 'Em High by Ted Post (DVD - 1997)
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