Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : The Hanging Tree

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We see a man riding on a mountain trail leading a pack horse.  A trunk on the pack horse has a name, Joseph Frail M.D.  He rides into a mining camp and sets up shop. It’s not long before he saves a young man from hanging and puts the boy to work under the threat of exposing him for the crime he commited if he doesn’t.  The mining camp is thrown together fast with everyone knowing each other from other gold camps. Doc Frail is also one of the people following the gold. He has some kind of past which has everyone cutting a wide swath around him. He’s not to be messed with. He might be a doctor but he has a violent side. Frail nurses a women back to health and secretly becomes her benefactor so she can work a claim. She hooks up with a  couple partners with one of them having other ideas than gold on his mind. He wants a piece of Eva and that is not going to sit well with Joe Frail. We witness this play out.

This is another film that CB’s old-man turned him onto. It’s a good one. Shot beautifully on location with Ted D. McCord catching it with his camera. Delmer Daves directs and does a really good job. He keeps the story focused without over telling it. He leaves a lot unsaid which works.  It’s based on a story by Dorothy M. Johnson.

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Really strong cast. George C. Scott, John Dierkes (Shane fame), Karl Malden (Where did you get that hat Karl?) does his usual good work (Have I said that before?). Maria Schell as Eva completely nails the role. Her performance is strong and real.  Loved her work. Great casting. One of my favorite female characters.  Gary Cooper in the lead role is outstanding. Back in the day when stars were worried about image, Cooper throws that away and plays a cold, hard, mean, short tempered, hurt and caring (and a few more things) man. He has a real nasty side which comes across real clear. I loved Cooper in this one. A man of few words but it’s perfect. You can feel his past weighing him down. No hippocratic oath for Coop or he forgot some of it.

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Something moved me about this film. It made an impression. The film is simply told and beautifully shot. Loved the setting, the work on both sides of the camera and I love this genre. It’s pretty violent. The ending is perfect.

Have a listen to Marty Robbins singing the title tune in the clip below. The song pretty well sets up the film.  Oh yeah the tree they use is one scary looking plant.

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29 comments on “Movie : The Hanging Tree

  1. Jim S.
    June 10, 2018

    Why do I keep singing “It was a hangin’ day, in Wolf City Wyoming, 1894” to myself? Never heard of this one. Or maybe I did but I just never saw it. Karl Malden got around, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2018

      You have me laughing already. Kid Shelleen was one of my heros. Karl got around and he was good. He could play the priest (Waterfront) to a sleaze ball like this. He runs around in dirty underwear wearing the worst hat he could have picked from the wardrobe truck. Coop plays a real dark character. Similar to Eastwood in Unforgiven but I think darker. Schell is fantastic. Ahead of her time in playing an independent woman. Plus you got Marty Robbins sing the song. Come on man!

      Like

      • Jim S.
        June 10, 2018

        You should host a Western-fest at CB’s crib sometime. I’ll drive up, bring the old lady and we can enjoy all those old great actors. I’ll bring the beer and you can provide the popcorn. I imagine a movie man like you must have one of those theater popcorn-makers in your house. Marty Robbins. “Do not forsake me oh my hanging tree, but first I’ve got to go pee-pee.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        Throw the sweetheart on the back of a horse and get the hell up here. I’ll get the spittoons ready, throw some fresh lime down the shithouse. My gal makes the best popcorn west of the Pecos (not kidding). I know you like to pick but your lyrics are some of the best.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 10, 2018

        Yeah, I’m humble about the lyrics, but really, Dylan? A Nobel? If I’d only done it for a living, man. Who else rhymes ‘tree’ with ‘pee-pee’? I ask you. Nobody. There’s a million bucks in my pocket right there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        Cut it out. I’m hiring you for some part down the road. Something no one else has the guts to play. Your commitment is solid.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 10, 2018

        Yeah if you need someone to play an axe murderer/sexual predator – who secretly has a heart of gold – let me know. I can play evil and then turn around, put on a habit, and play a nun. Keep me posted on that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        I was thinking a mascot at some small town ball game in the heat of summer. Maybe a gopher or Bigfoot costume. Something with a lot of fur to keep you warm.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 10, 2018

        And my face hidden. Good call.

        Like

  2. Heavy Metal Overload
    June 10, 2018

    I’ve saw this in the shops but wasn’t sure whether to pick it up. Reckon I will now.

    On the western topic… just watched Rio Bravo this morning. Great fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • J.
      June 10, 2018

      Rio Bravo is perfect for a Sunday morning flick!

      Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        June 10, 2018

        Sure is! One of my faves.

        Liked by 2 people

      • J.
        June 10, 2018

        I quite fancy watching it myself, actually… but I don’t have it (I know, shocker). I don’t have many DVDs now.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        I get this great channel over here TCM. They do a great job on airing an eclectic mix of films.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 10, 2018

        Turner Classic Movies! I used to watch that back when I had Sky telly. I don’t watch much telly, so quit it and now I use streaming services whenever I fancy watching something.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        I have a few sources I use. I watched a good Brit flick the other night ‘If’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 10, 2018

        Haven’t heard of that one. A recent one, or older?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        A dark film from the 60’s. Malcolm McDowell is the lead. Kubrick cast him in Clockwork after this one. Lindsay anderson made some very good films. You might find then interesting knowing your tastes. ‘Oh Lucky Man!’ (Great soundtrack), ‘The Sporting Life’ and a few more. still making my way through his work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 10, 2018

        Cheers for the recommendations, CB… I’ll get to adding them to my list and having a look online for the DVDs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        I watched a lot of film fro your side when i was younger (still do). McDowell was in some of my favorites. If you like a little off center check out the ones i mentioned. Ahead of their time and still stand up today. I think anyway. Dark humor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 10, 2018

        There’s a lot of great UK flicks… especially older stuff. Always seems a bit darker (both humour and tendency to explore the dark side). I’ll definitely look to check the recommendations out. I dare say my old man may have one or two of them in his DVD collection.

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 10, 2018

        I guess us three weren’t getting our Sunday morning religion off the tube. It was westerns or Tarzan for CB.

        Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2018

      I did a take on this because I really like it. Something dark and a little unsettling about it. The dialogue isn’t over done so there’s this quiet foreboding. Coopers character is one dark bastard not over the top. Scary quiet but he’s great.
      I’m always amazed how good guys like Dean Martin are. Not a trained actor but he gives a great performance. Now if actors would stop trying to be singers I’d be a little happier.

      Like

  3. J.
    June 10, 2018

    I’ve seen this one cheap a few times, but I’ve always left it. I don’t know why, exactly… I’ll need to grab it next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aunt Beulah
    June 19, 2018

    The title tune of the hanging tree is one of those bothersome melodies that lurks in my sub-conscious and emerges every so often to play over and over in my head before fading back into oblivion. It probably stays with me because I loved this movie for all the reasons you did, and especially for Gary Cooper, a man I adored for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 21, 2018

      Beulah, I apologize for taking so long to respond. Yeah the title song is similar to another Cooper film, ‘High Noon’.
      Very cool that you liked this film. I’m not up on where it stands as far as ratings (I don’t pay attention to ratings anyway) but it rates high for CB. Cooper is fantastic. Like I said, a man with a dark/violent past. You just believe he’s a scary guy. Maria Schell is the role I was telling you about. I thought her portrayal was ahead of it’s time. She was no shrinking violet. I applaud the filmmakers choice back then. One of my favorite film women. Thanks for chiming in.

      (Did you or have you seen Temple Grandin?)

      Like

      • Aunt Beulah
        June 21, 2018

        Yes, I did see Temple Grandin and liked it. She’s quite a woman with an interesting story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 21, 2018

        Yes she was. I didn’t know anything about her or her story. Now I do and am better for it. I think there’s a documentary. I’ll be watching that. Later Beulah. I’ll pop over and see what’s happening in your world.

        Like

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