Hang ‘Em High

Synopsis: Eastwood is Judge, Jury, and Executioner!

A band of vigilantes catch Jed Cooper and, incorrectly believing him guilty of cattle rustling and murder, hang him and leave him for dead. But he doesn’t die. He returns to his former profession of lawman to hunt down his lynchers and bring them to justice.
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Hang ‘Em High 8.0

Even as I write this, I feel like giving the movie a 7.5. And yet, as I watched it (and the many times I did in the past!), I was fully enjoying it like it was an 8.0. So, despite its unenduring quality, that’s what I’ll give it.

I think that the problem is in the style and direction of the movie. Because, in the hands of a master this film could easily have been one of the great westerns: the story is imbued with a moral complexity rarely found in the genre and I thought it was rather refreshing.

I mean, we’ve seen plenty of westerns, and we’ve seen plenty of stories of justice, good and evil, right and wrong. But ‘Hang ‘Em High’ handles the themes with a bit more subtlety than usual, and it makes a case for the nuances of man’s brand of justice.

It could have been a 9.0. It could have been a very memorable film but, instead, it has been crafted into nothing more than one amongst many. Unfortunate.

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