The Hanging Tree Reviews
I know this is as close to 'bad' Cooper ever played 'cos he felt the movie public would only accept him in heroic parts in one of the better 'psychological' westerns of the fifties.
A doctor, Dr Frail (played by the legendary Gary Cooper), moves into a gold rush town in Montana in the 1870s. He's a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails type with a few skeletons in his past. Then a stagecoach is robbed nearby and its female occupant becomes a patient...
Interesting and intriguing from the word go. Gary Cooper is obviously the hero, but for once he is less than perfect. Good action and a hint of romance.
Decent, but not great. The story is often uneven, going on tangents, and the plot not always consistent. The ending is so random and silly it almost ruins the movie.
Solid performance from Gary Cooper in the lead role. Good support from Maria Schell, Karl Malden and Ben Piazza. George C Scott appears in his first cinematic role (though he had appeared in TV series and a TV movie before this).
Only really worth watching if you're a Gary Cooper fan.
A local doctor and rancher in the mid west has gained his riches and isn't worried about the local miners and gold diggers belief that riches are in the hills surrounding his property. He lets them be and occasionally nurses the wounded back to health from the mines. A young lady is found in the hills badly wounded and widowed. The doc nurses her back to health but refuses to have a personal relationship with her. She begins her own gold hunting and the doctor suddenly starts paying attention to what everyone is doing around him and the widow.
"All he said was something about a house burning down..."
Delmer Daves, director of An Affair to Remember, Destination Tokyo, Dames, Dark Passage, 3:10 to Yuma, Broken Arrow, and To the Victor, delivers The Hanging Tree. The storyline for this picture is very good and contains a unique blend of western with the struggle of making it in the west without a gun. The acting is very good and the cast includes Gary Cooper, George C Scott, Virginia Gregg, Karl Swenson, Maria Schell, and Karl Malden.
"...and she's been blinded..."
I came across this film on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to DVR this classic. I found the film very well done and different than I expected. The conclusion was very well written and executed by the director and cast. Overall, this is a classic western that is definitely worth your time.
"The lost lady is found."
The Hanging Tree (1959) is Gary Cooper's best western film and a much better movie than High Noon, period. It also the vehicle for one of Gary Cooper's finest performances ever. Sadly it is also one of last movies he ever made. Filmed in glorious Technicolor, the scenery near Yakima, Washington, is spectacular and the camera work excellent. Under the deft hand of renowned director Delmer Daves (assisted by Karl Malden who stepped in for Daves' during his illness near the end of filming), the actors provide an intense character study of greed, exploitation, moral corruption, redemption, and love - all set in the old west of the late 19th century. Other cast members giving outstanding performances are the beautiful Maria Schell, a drunken fortune hunter, Karl Malden, along with relative newcomers, George C Scott (in one of his more sinister roles) and a very young Ben Piazza. In fact, the entire cast gave excellent performances.
The movie's title song, written by Jerry Livingston (music) and Mack David (lyrics) and sung by Marty Robbins, was nominated for an Academy Award (losing to High Hopes from A Hole In The Head). It is that type of catchy tune that once you hear it you will be whistling, singing and humming it forevermore. The song, The Hanging Tree, was far more popular and received greater airplay than the Oscar winner, High Hopes, and also outsold the winner by over ten thousand to one.
For some unknown reason Warner Bros. has not released this terrific movie on DVD. I have an old, original Warner Home Video VHS copy from which I made a digitized DVD copy for my own use. This movie is one of those classics that is just begging to be restored and released on disc. I'd loved to see a good restored DVD copy of The Hanging Tree before I die.
It does appear from time to time on Turner Classics Movies (TCM) television network. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend this movie to you because once you have seen it, you will never forget it.