Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week Eighty Seven: Hang ‘Em High
I haven’t seen this film since I was seven or eight years old so I decided it was worth another look. If you’ve read my other Western reviews, you know I’m not a big fan of the spaghetti variation. Seeing this film compared to those, I approached this viewing with apprehension but ultimately found that analysis to be mostly incorrect.
Though some write that Hang ‘Em High borrows heavily from the Italian western Eastwood was involved with around the same time, I feel it has far more shared DNA with the classic Westerns, both on the silver screen and television. This is supported even further by Eastwood’s choice of Ted Post as director, a veteran of the small screen Western. Post delivers a solid, straight forward if sometimes offbeat and disturbing entry in the genre. The best scenes in the film come from his latter disposition as he displays the sickening act of hanging these men, regardless of how bad they might be.
The movie loses itself big time in the romance, one that was totally unnecessary to the narrative. It should have been about Eastwood, Hingle’s judge, and the men he’s hunting. I love romance in Westerns but only when it fits.
Seen on Amazon Prime.