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Hang ’em High (1968, Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens)



This was the first Hollywood attempt to capitalise on Clint Eastwood’s success as The Man with No Name and to bring him into the comfortable fold of American stars in American films. Here, he plays Jed Cooper, a rancher mistakenly identified as a murderer and cattle thief by a lynch mob. With little care for the due process of law, the mob hangs him.

At the last minute he is cut down by Ben Johnson, a passing marshall. Taken to judge Pat Hingle, Eastwood explains what has happened and finds himself deputised as a lawman, so long as he finds the men who tried to hang him and brings them back for trial.

Blithely ignoring the judge’s instructions, Eastwood re-dons his avenging angel identity and goes gunning for each of the men. Killing them one by one, Eastwood finally faces death again when the leader of the lynch mob, Ed Begley, shoots him. However, on hand is Inger Stevens, a shopkeeper who has fallen in love with Eastwood. She nurses him back to health and he sets off once again to face death when he hunts Begley…

Following his successes in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Hollywood realised that the actor who had been written off as a mere TV star was now someone with an international reputation capable of ‘opening a movie’ and it was left to director Ted Post, with whom Eastwood had worked on Rawhide, to find a suitable vehicle for him.

production details
USA | 114 minutes | 1968

Director: Ted Post
Writers: Leonard Freeman, Mel Goldberg

Clint Eastwood as Marshal Jed Cooper
Inger Stevens as Rachel Warren
Ed Begley as Captain Wilson
Pat Hingle as Judge Adam Fenton
Ben Johnson as Marshal Dave Bliss
Bruce Dern as Miller
Charles McGraw as Sheriff Ray Calhoun
Ruth White as Madame Sophie
Alan Hale Jr. as Matt Stone
L.Q. Jones as Loomis
Michael O’Sullivan as Francis Elroy Duffy
Dennis Hopper as Prophet
James Westerfield as Prisoner
Richard Gates as Ben
Bruce Scott as Billy Joe
Arlene Golonka as Jennifer
James MacArthur as The Preacher
Bob Steele as Jenkins
Bert Freed as Schmidt
Mark Lenard as Prosecutor
Robert Williams as Elwood
Joseph Sirola as Reno
Russell Thorson as Maddow
Ned Romero as Charlie Blackfoot