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“Hang 'Em High”- {Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: MGM
Release Date:
Special Features:

DVD copy


Hang 'Em High is directed by Ted Post. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Ed Begley, Pat Hingle, Bruce Dern, Alan Hale Jr., Dennis Hopper, and Arlene Golonka. ***

A farmer has been attacked by a lynch mob, and accused of stealing cattle. After being acquitted by a judge, he has desires of hunting his pursuers, but the judge offers him an alternative to vigilantism - become a deputy, and bringing his attackers to justice, He accepts the offer and sets out to arrest them and force them to stand trial. But the gang is aware he is on their tail. As he pursues them, he most not only face danger around every corner, but also clashing opinions of justice with the town judge that offered him the job in the first place. ***

After becoming a big-time star overseas with the Man With No Name films, Clint Eastwood came back to the States and starred in this picture. With an atmosphere that straddles the line between traditional Westerns and the anti-establishment atmosphere he had created in those films with Sergio Leone, the film stands as one of Eastwood's most underrated efforts. ***

Hang Em High is a damn good Western, due in no small part to the superb acting of its leading man. Here we have a character that initially is blinded by his vengeance, but as his journey progresses, aims for justice instead, and even begins to pursue a relationship with a woman who has suffered a personal tragedy. The supporting cast is equally impressive, featuring names such as the late Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon from the Burton/ Schumacher Batman films), Ed Begley, Arlene Golonka (perhaps best known as Millie in later episodes of The Andy Griffith Show), Bruce Dern (the guy who killed John Wayne's character in The Cowboys), and even a brief appearance by Dennis Hopper as a crazed preacher. Sadly, we lost Hopper just a week or so before my writing this review. ---

Image And Sound:

Fans will be delighted to know that Hang Em High looks and sounds very good on Blu-Ray. The image is vibrant throughout, and detail gets a solid upgrade from SD released. It is clear that the image hasn't gotten the full-blown restoration treatment, and there is still some grain spiking to speak of, particularly in night scenes. But short of a full-blown restoration effort, this is the best the movie is likely to ever look - and that's all right with me. ***

The audio gets an upgrade to a lossless stereo mix, and like the video, it won't disappoint. It is difficult to make a solid audio mix out of such dated elements, but MGM actually does a solid job here. The movie comes to life like never before thanks to the new life they have breathed into the audio. No, this track isn't going to compete with modern blockbusters, but for a film this vintage, it is definitely above average.

Special Features:

Nothing except for a DVD copy of the film.

Final Words:

Hang Em High is not the greatest Western ever made, but it is still a damn fine film. With a Blu-Ray release finally on the market, what better time to discover (or rediscover) it than the present? Strongly recommended!


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