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The Hanging Tree (1959)


MissGoddess
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Coming up on TCM this Tuesday is one of my favorite Gary Cooper performances in

a rarely seen, not available on American DVD western by Delmer Daves, The Hanging Tree.

 

hangingtree-13.jpg?t=1297034185

 

Maria Schell costars with Karl Malden in a story about a complex and unusual "triangle" of

relationships between a stagecoach hold-up victim (Maria), the doctor that treats her

resultant sun blindness due to exposure, and a young man (Ben Piazza) the doctor has saved from

being shot for stealing. Lest these deeds make the doctor sound like some kind of good

Samaritan, Coop actually plays "Doc" Joseph Frail as a mysterious, somewhat dark and

forbidding character with a past who isn't about to explain himself to anyone...or

acknowledge any obligations beyond those he can control.

 

hangingtree-16.jpg?t=1297036349

 

 

The movie presents us with a small collection of characters who wear different masks

and seeing the true person underneath seems to be a possible theme of the film, along

with the importance of trust, particularly when the young woman (Maria) enters the little

mining settlement stricken with blindness, and who's vulnerability places Frail in a compromising

position. It seems even in a make-shift mining camp, gossip and suspicion are always your

neighbor.

 

The ghosts of Frail's past are in constant jeapordy of being revealed partly because the doctor's

own temper threatens to undermine his position as the community's position as healer. Most

eager to try to expose Frail are Malden's "Frenchie" who goes down as one of the most aggravating

and despicable of varmits and a particularly looney appearance by George C. Scott as a fanatic

who also holds a personal grudge against Frail. It appears that Frail views himself as the only man allowed to keep secrets, for he does not hesitate to put these two men roughly in their place for

their own dubious characters.

 

More an adult psychological mystery and character study than action shoot em up, this western deserves to be better known, particularly as "Doc" Frails is for Cooper one of the three great western characters of his career (along with Will Kane in High Noon and Linc Jones in Man of the West) because he is something of an enigma wrapped in a mystery...and a mighty attractive form.

 

Enjoy!!

http://www.tcm.com:80/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=77288

Turner Classic Movies

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 1:30 p.m. EST

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Coming up on TCM this Tuesday is one of my favorite Gary Cooper performances in

> a rarely seen, not available on American DVD western by Delmer Daves, The Hanging Tree.

>

> hangingtree-13.jpg?t=1297034185

>

> Maria Schell costars with Karl Malden in a story about a complex and unusual "triangle" of

> relationships between a stagecoach hold-up victim (Maria), the doctor that treats her

> resultant sun blindness due to exposure, and a young man (Ben Piazza) the doctor has saved from

> being shot for stealing. Lest these deeds make the doctor sound like some kind of good

> Samaritan, Coop actually plays "Doc" Joseph Frail as a mysterious, somewhat dark and

> forbidding character with a past who isn't about to explain himself to anyone...or

> acknowledge any obligations beyond those he can control.

>

> hangingtree-16.jpg?t=1297036349

>

>

> The movie presents us with a small collection of characters who wear different masks

> and seeing the true person underneath seems to be a possible theme of the film, along

> with the importance of trust, particularly when the young woman (Maria) enters the little

> mining settlement stricken with blindness, and who's vulnerability places Frail in a compromising

> position. It seems even in a make-shift mining camp, gossip and suspicion are always your

> neighbor.

>

> The ghosts of Frail's past are in constant jeapordy of being revealed partly because the doctor's

> own temper threatens to undermine his position as the community's position as healer. Most

> eager to try to expose Frail are Malden's "Frenchie" who goes down as one of the most aggravating

> and despicable of varmits and a particularly looney appearance by George C. Scott as a fanatic

> who also holds a personal grudge against Frail. It appears that Frail views himself as the only man allowed to keep secrets, for he does not hesitate to put these two men roughly in their place for

> their own dubious characters.

>

> More an adult psychological mystery and character study than action shoot em up, this western deserves to be better known, particularly as "Doc" Frails is for Cooper one of the three great western characters of his career (along with Will Kane in High Noon and Linc Jones in Man of the West) because he is something of an enigma wrapped in a mystery...and a mighty attractive form.

>

> Enjoy!!

> http://www.tcm.com:80/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=77288

> Turner Classic Movies

> Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 1:30 p.m. EST

 

You nailed it Goddess...

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Thank you, Jake.

 

I'm so glad TCM aired this. It looks like the same (restored?) print used

for the R2 DVD. It wasn't in the widescreen format, but I am just glad it

was broadcast at all.

 

*Will Rogers, Assault on a Queen, The Hanging Tree*, and now *Flesh* in May. I feel like TCM is

spoiling me! :)

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Thank you, Jake.

>

> I'm so glad TCM aired this. It looks like the same (restored?) print used

> for the R2 DVD. It wasn't in the widescreen format, but I am just glad it

> was broadcast at all.

>

> *Will Rogers, Assault on a Queen, The Hanging Tree*, and now *Flesh* in May. I feel like TCM is

> spoiling me! :)

 

Hi Goddess,

 

I can't really express in words as well as you how much I really love this movie with Coop.

 

I bought a bootlegged DVD about 2 years ago that was the VHS copy transferred to disc.

 

It's OK but I would gladly spend dearly for a Warner Archive copy. I did buy Bright Leaf from Warner.

 

I'm sure you are aware of the awesome shot making in the Hanging Tree. The tone is set in the movie when Rune is running from the miners for thievery and he is climbing up the hill only to find Doc Frail hovering above him and all else. An awesome shot...

 

And, of the course, the shot with him and Elizabeth on the Hill when she first sees him is awesome, too.

 

But his killing of Frenchy is most satisfying.

 

Your review was wonderful and again thank you...

 

Jake

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> {quote:title=mongo wrote:}{quote}

> I enjoyed most of the movie especially Karl Malden as a rotten scoundrel.

> I did think that the ending fell flat, too compact.

> I did want to see that preacher get a good punch in the face.

 

Hi Mongo,

I love this movie, but I do find myself wanting a little more tightness and wrenching from the ending. But considering all the Delmer Daves films I've seen, I don't sense that he's an action director per se, even though he did war and westerns very well. His strengths seem to lie in character building and a unique, measured pace (also a good eye for composition). You inevitably get under the skin of the characters in all his movies, it's part of the charm of his films, what makes them attractive to me.

 

Agree about the preacher...between him and Frenchie, that was a lot of rottenness for one tiny little mining settlement to deal with. :)

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> I'm sure you are aware of the awesome shot making in the Hanging Tree. The tone is set in the movie when Rune is running from the miners for thievery and he is climbing up the hill only to find Doc Frail hovering above him and all else. An awesome shot...

>

> And, of the course, the shot with him and Elizabeth on the Hill when she first sees him is awesome, too.

>

 

Hi Jake,

There are some remarkable and effective shots to be sure. I particularly like those that emphasize Doc's mystery, isolation and power. He seems to tower over the roughnecks. Tall as Coop was, he didn't need to be shot from a low angle to make him appear looming, but the effect heightens the feeling that he could be as dangerous as the rowdies who, like hyenas, like to gang up on him. Notice

he's always being hounded by a "pack"? Individually, they cower from him.

 

hangingtree-10.jpg?t=1297221054

 

hangingtree-11.jpg?t=1297221155

 

hangingtree-12.jpg?t=1297221155

 

hangingtree-18.jpg?t=1297221352

 

hangingtree-31.jpg?t=1297221781

 

> But his killing of Frenchy is most satisfying.

>

 

It's a savage scene. Imagine Elizabeth loving a man who's just done this.

 

hangingtree-22.jpg?t=1297221421

hangingtree-23.jpg?t=1297221471

hangingtree-24.jpg?t=1297221499

hangingtree-25.jpg?t=1297221523

hangingtree-26.jpg?t=1297221561

hangingtree-28.jpg?t=1297221628

 

> Your review was wonderful and again thank you...

>

 

Thank you, kind sir.

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Since we've had some spoilers in this thread, I'll add one too. The ending is one of my all-time favorites. When Cooper shouts, "Elizabeth!" and Schell turns her head to him, her expression changes so slightly. She doesn't seem to move a muscle, yet that "look" (which is worth a thousand words) comes across her face. And at that very moment, if you turn up your TV volume, you can hear the notes of the theme song begin. This clip starts right after Coop calls to her:

 

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Howdy, Fordy Guns -- Maria Schell costars with Karl Malden in a story about a complex and unusual "triangle" of relationships between a stagecoach hold-up victim (Maria), the doctor that treats her resultant sun blindness due to exposure, and a young man (Ben Piazza) the doctor has saved from

being shot for stealing.

 

I did like the relationships that developed between Frail (Gary Cooper), Elizabeth (Maria Schell), and Rune (Ben Piazza). That's where my interests in the film lie. I especially liked Frail and Elizabeth's relationship. As Elizabeth points out, Frail is torturous with his push-pull. It's something I can relate to.

 

Lest these deeds make the doctor sound like some kind of good Samaritan, Coop actually plays "Doc" Joseph Frail as a mysterious, somewhat dark and forbidding character with a past who isn't about to explain himself to anyone...or acknowledge any obligations beyond those he can control.

 

This is definitely one of Gary Cooper's best characters and one of his best performances. Coop was able to play quite a few of these complex men in the 50s, and he does so with his own brand of "gentle." Frail is a damaged, hurting man.

 

The movie presents us with a small collection of characters who wear different masks

and seeing the true person underneath seems to be a possible theme of the film, along

with the importance of trust, particularly when the young woman (Maria) enters the little

mining settlement stricken with blindness, and who's vulnerability places Frail in a compromising

position. It seems even in a make-shift mining camp, gossip and suspicion are always your

neighbor.

 

That was very nicely said. You're right, many are hiding, with Frail being the biggest hider of all.

 

The ghosts of Frail's past are in constant jeapordy of being revealed partly because the doctor's

own temper threatens to undermine his position as the community's position as healer. Most

eager to try to expose Frail are Malden's "Frenchie" who goes down as one of the most aggravating

and despicable of varmits and a particularly looney appearance by George C. Scott as a fanatic

who also holds a personal grudge against Frail.

 

I wasn't that keen on Frenchy (Karl Malden). It's one of the reasons why I didn't take to the film like you and others have. His character fits the story and setting, it's just he's not my kind of villain. Grubb (George C. Scott) was on the simplistic side, but I can see where he would have influence with a mob.

 

It appears that Frail views himself as the only man allowed to keep secrets, for he does not hesitate to put these two men roughly in their place for their own dubious characters.

 

What a fascinating point that is. Frail really is the type who likes to dish it but who cannot take it in return. Boy, is that ever a modern kind of guy. A flawed hero always interests me, though.

 

More an adult psychological mystery and character study than action shoot em up, this western deserves to be better known, particularly as "Doc" Frails is for Cooper one of the three great western characters of his career (along with Will Kane in High Noon and Linc Jones in Man of the West) because he is something of an enigma wrapped in a mystery...and a mighty attractive form.

 

It's the strong psychological aspect of the film that I really liked. Just like Frail exposing others to their weaknesses, I like how Elizabeth exposes him to his own. She forces him to open his eyes. I like the very end and the message that goes with it. It was my favorite scene in the film.

 

I think it's interesting that it's a man who is tending to a woman in the film, that the woman looks to set out and make her own way in the world, and that it's a woman who saves the man. This makes The Hanging Tree a rather strong "female" western.

 

Overall, I thought the The Hanging Tree was solid. I felt the middle of the film to be on the uninteresting side. While I enjoyed the scenes between Frail and Elizabeth, the other scenes just didn't do much for me.

 

I also didn't find the villains in the film to be all that compelling. They were dirty rascals, but on the very weak side.

 

And one of my biggest problems with the film is Maria Schell. I just wasn't into her. I thought she did a good job of showing vulnerability and I did like her "soft," but something about her wasn't connecting with me.

 

I mostly liked the ending. What I didn't like was the "burning down the town" and how quick and easy Frail escapes his demise. But I loved the final scene and its message. I also liked Frail's angry, hateful response to Frenchy. Boy, does that ever make us examine ourselves.

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> Howdy, Fordy Guns --

> I did like the relationships that developed between Frail (Gary Cooper), Elizabeth (Maria Schell), and Rune (Ben Piazza). That's where my interests in the film lie. I especially liked Frail and Elizabeth's relationship. As Elizabeth points out, Frail is torturous with his push-pull. It's something I can relate to.

>

 

Me, too. I think the relationships are the central concern of the film, which is what appeals to me.

 

>

> This is definitely one of Gary Cooper's best characters and one of his best performances. Coop was able to play quite a few of these complex men in the 50s, and he does so with his own brand of "gentle." Frail is a damaged, hurting man.

>

 

He was very forbidding in a way I seldom saw him. No one could reach him until Elizabeth.

 

> I wasn't that keen on Frenchy (Karl Malden). It's one of the reasons why I didn't take to the film like you and others have. His character fits the story and setting, it's just he's not my kind of villain. Grubb (George C. Scott) was on the simplistic side, but I can see where he would have influence with a mob.

>

 

I think the real evils were inside people, these two guys just seem to be flesh-and-blood representations of the basest instincts (French) and at the opposite end of the spectrum, intolerant self-righteousness (Grubb---George C. Scott).

 

> What a fascinating point that is. Frail really is the type who likes to dish it but who cannot take it in return. Boy, is that ever a modern kind of guy. A flawed hero always interests me, though.

>

 

Well said...he likes to be calling the shots and doesn't like to be questioned. The movie makes him seem stronger than the short story does. In that one he seems much more motivated by fears and self-loathing. In Johnson's story, Frail's character actually is like Ransom Stoddard. In both Dorothy Johnson stories the men share qualities in common. They are very hard to like or admire. Both movie versions make the characters more palatable.

 

>

> It's the strong psychological aspect of the film that I really liked. Just like Frail exposing others to their weaknesses, I like how Elizabeth exposes him to his own. She forces him to open his eyes. I like the very end and the message that goes with it. It was my favorite scene in the film.

>

 

I'm glad you liked the ending. It's almost like he was really getting strung up for what he did in the past as much as for what the crowd were howling about.

 

I get the feeling the crowd were so easily influenced because of Frail's behavior toward them. People will be quick to "lynch" someone they have a personal dislike toward...had he been a low down or warm and fuzzy phony like them, they probably would have hesitated or given him a pass. Nothing in human nature has changed. If you're not one of the crowd, they'll look for a reason to put you in the wrong.

 

> I think it's interesting that it's a man who is tending to a woman in the film, that the woman looks to set out and make her own way in the world, and that it's a woman who saves the man. This makes The Hanging Tree a rather strong "female" western.

>

 

That's interesting. Maybe my one ambivalance about this movie is the actress Maria Schell. I blow very hot and cold on her peformance. This most recent viewing found me more sympathetic. She's really in a rotten predicament and her fortitude and willingness to work hard and be practical are remarkable. It is an excellent example of a good role for a woman in a western.

 

> I also didn't find the villains in the film to be all that compelling. They were dirty rascals, but on the very weak side.

>

 

But weakness is the evil that the others are plagued by...they aren't any of them really like murderous but powerful villains like Liberty Valance or Jack Wilson (Jack Palanace in Shane), they are the small and petty weaknesses and base instincts of men and women.

 

> And one of my biggest problems with the film is Maria Schell. I just wasn't into her. I thought she did a good job of showing vulnerability and I did like her "soft," but something about her wasn't connecting with me.

>

 

Like I said above, I share your ambivalance about the actress.

 

> I mostly liked the ending. What I didn't like was the "burning down the town" and how quick and easy Frail escapes his demise. But I loved the final scene and its message. I also liked Frail's angry, hateful response to Frenchy. Boy, does that ever make us examine ourselves.

 

I liked seeing the camp burned out actually, it was like a dirty scurge on the beautiful land...the land was being brutalized by brutish greedy people. But that's my personal take. :D

 

The killing of Frenchy is very harsh, it reminds me of the fight between Gary and Jack Lord in *Man of the West*.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Feb 9, 2011 12:22 PM

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Boy was this worth the wait. What a film! Not a lot of shoot um up, just a depiction of how primitive, in setting and emotions, mining camps really were. The characters were well drawn and out of the ordinary types you sometimes find in Westerns.

 

I was impressed with the willingness of Maria Schell, an attractive woman, to let herself look so horribly burned in the beginning. Elisabeth was a newcomer in a strange land who had lost her father; in Germanic culture where they are real authority figures this would really be unnerving. As she mends we see her strength, determination to stay and make it in the West, and her inner as well as outer beauty come through. She goes after what she wants be it the gold or John Frail, then gives the gold away to John, choosing love over money.

 

Frail is harsh with Rune at first but he?s right that if not for him Rune would be dead. We see the emotionally closed up Frail and Rune start to bond care about each other and become another element in the story.

 

I have to mention Virginia Gregg as the malicious leader of the ?good women? who forget the verse about ?Judging not lest you be judged?. When Frail sent the carriage full of the biddies on their way I cheered. This woman was one of the unsung supporting players of her day; whatever the role she nailed it.

 

To top it off, we get Marty Robbins to sing the theme and gorgeous color. I?ve caught about six Warner Westerns on TCM and Encore this week-Cooper?s Springfield Rifle among them-and they seem to have done the genre proud. Glad this was one of them.

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Howdy there, Miss G...

 

I MISSED this movie the other day, but thanks for bringing it up for a chat and giving it the recognition it deserves.. it really is a terrific story and a fine performance from Cooper. (I need to go find my copy and sit down and watch again sometime, I hope)

 

I loved the two lead characters (Doc and Elizabeth) and the way they struggle to interact w/ one another.. and I also love the SCENERY in this film... WOWSA is it ever gorgeous. (OH.. and that FRENCHY.. It has to have been at LEAST a year or so since I saw this film and I say again from the bottom of my heart.. ha..that guy was absolute PONDSCUM!!!!!!! ha TOO well played by Malden to be sure, ha)

 

Thanks again from giving this movie a bit of well deserved attention.. I hope they show it again on TCM sometime soon for the folks who have yet to see it.. it is well worth watching to be sure.

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Hi, wouldbestar!

 

> {quote:title=wouldbestar wrote:}{quote}

> Boy was this worth the wait. What a film! Not a lot of shoot um up, just a depiction of how primitive, in setting and emotions, mining camps really were. The characters were well drawn and out of the ordinary types you sometimes find in Westerns.

>

 

I'm so glad you got to see it. I agree it's a good slice of life in those rugged conditions. I read somewhere, or heard Delmer Daves the director talking about how his father or some other relative had been a prospector, and that he always felt a fascination and nostalgia for this way of life. I think he enjoyed making *The Hanging Tree*. If you ever get to see "The Wide Wide World: Westerns", a television special made in 1959, you will see an interview with Daves and Gary Cooper on location for this film.

 

> I was impressed with the willingness of Maria Schell, an attractive woman, to let herself look so horribly burned in the beginning. Elisabeth was a newcomer in a strange land who had lost her father; in Germanic culture where they are real authority figures this would really be unnerving. As she mends we see her strength, determination to stay and make it in the West, and her inner as well as outer beauty come through. She goes after what she wants be it the gold or John Frail, then gives the gold away to John, choosing love over money.

>

 

Very well said about Elizabeth. She's definitely a fighter and I have often asked myself while watching this movie if I could survive like she did. I don't believe I'd be half so smart as to get a gold mine working and make sure everything was legal. I'd have gotten the shaft!

 

 

> Frail is harsh with Rune at first but hes right that if not for him Rune would be dead. We see the emotionally closed up Frail and Rune start to bond care about each other and become another element in the story.

>

 

I find their relationship very interesting. I agree that Rune needed to learn to be grateful. Why do you think Frail makes him a bond servant, but doesn't keep the bullet? I am not sure. I sometimes think it is to teach Rune a lesson.

 

> I have to mention Virginia Gregg as the malicious leader of the good women who forget the verse about Judging not lest you be judged. When Frail sent the carriage full of the biddies on their way I cheered. This woman was one of the unsung supporting players of her day; whatever the role she nailed it.

>

 

She really was excellent at that kind of character.

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>

> I loved the two lead characters (Doc and Elizabeth) and the way they struggle to interact w/ one another.. and I also love the SCENERY in this film... WOWSA is it ever gorgeous. (OH.. and that FRENCHY.. It has to have been at LEAST a year or so since I saw this film and I say again from the bottom of my heart.. ha..that guy was absolute PONDSCUM!!!!!!! ha TOO well played by Malden to be sure, ha)

>

 

:D I do remember a lively discussion about Mr. Scum.

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I watched "THE HANGING TREE" based on your bold and large fonted reminder, ( :)) the other day and found it interesting. I saw the movie as a kid with my father, but remembered nothing about it other than a blind girl. I loved this Gary Cooper. No hesitation, no "aw shucks." No shyness. Strong, decisive and deadly. I loved seeing him like that. ?Shoot first and ask questions later," I say. I have to admit stepping away from the tv for a moment so I missed (or did they even reveal) exactly what Coop was running from or guilty of? He burned down a house or what? Wha? happened?

 

But it was a film about relationships as you and others have written. I think he blackmailed Rune for his own good; to keep him out of trouble. (The boy was surely heading down a wrong path). I wasn't crazy about the actor who played him, (Ben Piazza reminded me of Aidan Quinn) but he did do a good job as this kid. The film shows us Coop tossing the bullet so that we can see that deep down Frail is not a bad man. Imagine to really think that Coop would have kept a slave...no no, that would never do.

 

As Frank Grimes writes, ?Frail is a hurt and damaged man.? Poor baby, (Coop not Grimes). He has such a lock on his emotions for Elizabeth, he?d rather let her go than take the risk of openly falling in love with her...even if she is showing how much she cares for him. The movie took its time. We did see ev?ry step of the way Elizabeth?s recovery from her tragic accident. We saw how tender and protective he was of Elizabeth. And later, in the midst of this lawless frontier Sodom and Gommorrah when the ?Lost Lady? now recovers, she introduces herself from Rune's horseback... she has a Name. And the town seemed genuinely interested in her health and recovery. (I thought respectfully so...) She doesn?t seem fearful. She?s so Other from the rest of the town. She was very attractive and got some of the boys riled up I'm sure. But she disregarded that and moved forward. Coop wanted to send her back to Switzerland for her own good, to protect her...but she wanted to make her own good here, in America. And near him.

 

?......between him and Frenchie, that was a lot of rottenness for one tiny little mining settlement to deal with.? :)

 

I was surprised to see Elizabeth throw her lot in with Frenchy. (I'm going with the "y" spelling as opposed to the "i-e"). I didn?t see that coming. Was she that guileless and blind not to see that he had the hots for her? (?Hey Mister, is that a gold bullion in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?) As it was playing out, I thought the money outweighed his desires for her. Good. But boy oh boy, was I wrong. I wanted to smash him from the first. I wanted to stuff that filthy red hat down his throat. Crazy ol coot George C. Scott was just as galling.

 

"It's a savage scene. Imagine Elizabeth loving a man who's just done this.?

 

Aaaaaaah a ?my hero? moment, for me. Oooooh, g-r-r-r, he was infuriatingly a scoundrel, a rat, a lowdown dirty varmint, and he deserved to rot.

 

"I think the real evils were inside people, these two guys just seem to be flesh-and-blood representations of the basest instincts (French) and at the opposite end of the spectrum, intolerant self-righteousness (Grubb---George C. Scott).?

 

Nicely stated, Miss G. The two plot devices I really that l am uncomfortable with in movies is blackmail and taking hostages.

 

?The killing of Frenchy is very harsh, it reminds me of the fight between Gary and Jack Lord in Man of the West.?

 

Boy oh boy, if anyone had it coming...it was Frenchy. And his little red hat too!!! --Vermin-- Varmint!!

 

*****

 

FrankGrimes writes: "As Elizabeth points out, Frail is torturous with his push-pull. It's something I can relate to.?

 

Why can you relate to that?

 

"I think it's interesting that it's a man who is tending to a woman in the film, that the woman looks to set out and make her own way in the world, and that it's a woman who saves the man. This makes ?The Hanging Tree? a rather strong ?female? western.?

 

WoW, I never thought of it that way. And that makes perfect sense, Grimesy. She did set out to seek her fortune. And she certainly does come to the rescue at the last possible moment. I?m not a Western afficionado like the rest of you, but I can?t remember another movie (besides ?Westward the Women?) where a woman actively took charge of her future like that. We might see the ?after-the fact? situation where the woman has inherited land, or she herself IS the landbaron or she marries a landbaron. But to actually show her grinding it out, I don?t recall a movie...okay okay, go on guys, correct me.

 

The turn of events at the movie?s climax took me by surprised. Those mining folks just went plum crazy loco. Now they?re burning and carrying on. They became animals. They feared the doc so now they want to hang him. What the heck is going on with these folks.

 

Poor Cooper, he struggled with his feelings for her. He didn?t want to admit his feelings for Elizabeth. He hid them, he stayed in the background still protective of her; sort of watching over her as a Guardian Angel. Us girls should only be that lucky to have a guardian angel like that. Wait a minute, I do recall a time when us girls here were that very lucky.

 

Thank you.

 

*****

 

Wouldbe Star writes: ?I have to mention Virginia Gregg as the malicious leader of the ?good women? who forget the verse about ?Judging not lest you be judged?. When Frail sent the carriage full of the biddies on their way I cheered. This woman was one of the unsung supporting players of her day; whatever the role she nailed it.?

 

Yes Virginia Gregg was quite good. One of my favorite character actresses is Ann Doran. I think she would have been good in the role as well.

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Hello there, Maven...thanks for your post...and your willingness check out these westerns!

 

> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> I watched "THE HANGING TREE" based on your bold and large fonted reminder, ( :)) the other day and found it interesting. I saw the movie as a kid with my father, but remembered nothing about it other than a blind girl. I loved this Gary Cooper. No hesitation, no "aw shucks." No shyness. Strong, decisive and deadly. I loved seeing him like that. Shoot first and ask questions later," I say. I have to admit stepping away from the tv for a moment so I missed (or did they even reveal) exactly what Coop was running from or guilty of? He burned down a house or what? Wha happened?

>

 

Oh, I love him this way, too. Much better than Bertram Potts (Ball of Fire). :D

 

Major Hanging Tree Spoiler

 

As for his past dark deed, he burned down a house alright, after he killed his wife and brother, possibly in flagrante delicto as they say.

 

> The film shows us Coop tossing the bullet so that we can see that deep down Frail is not a bad man. Imagine to really think that Coop would have kept a slave...no no, that would never do.

 

You haven't seen Unconquered! :D

 

 

> And the town seemed genuinely interested in her health and recovery. (I thought respectfully so...) She doesnt seem fearful. Shes so Other from the rest of the town. She was very attractive and got some of the boys riled up I'm sure. But she disregarded that and moved forward. Coop wanted to send her back to Switzerland for her own good, to protect her...but she wanted to make her own good here, in America. And near him.

>

 

Good points, there. The people were curious about her to be sure, and not rude to begin with. I beleive they were happy she survived and that they even felt kind of like they all had a part in seeing her recover.

 

>

> I was surprised to see Elizabeth throw her lot in with Frenchy. (I'm going with the "y" spelling as opposed to the "i-e"). I didnt see that coming. Was she that guileless and blind not to see that he had the hots for her? (Hey Mister, is that a gold bullion in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?) As it was playing out, I thought the money outweighed his desires for her. Good. But boy oh boy, was I wrong. I wanted to smash him from the first. I wanted to stuff that filthy red hat down his throat. Crazy ol coot George C. Scott was just as galling.

>

 

Karl Malden sure went to town as Frenchy. He's pretty awful, I agree. In the beginning you're not sure how bad he'll be.

 

> Nicely stated, Miss G. The two plot devices I really that l am uncomfortable with in movies is blackmail and taking hostages.

>

 

how come?

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"Hello there, Maven...thanks for your post...and your willingness check out these westerns!"

 

Believe me, I'm tryin'. I'm tryin'!

 

"Oh, I love him this way, too. Much better than Bertram Potts (Ball of Fire)." :D

 

Or "Sorrowful Jones" or "Good Sam" or... wait, I do like Gary Cooper.

 

"As for his past dark deed, he burned down a house alright, after he killed his wife and brother, possibly in flagrante delicto as they say."

 

Oh. OH!!! Whew.

 

The film shows us Coop tossing the bullet so that we can see that deep down Frail is not a bad man. Imagine to really think that Coop would have kept a slave...no no, that would never do.

 

"You haven't seen 'Unconquered'!" :D

 

Uh-oh...my ignorance is showing. :-(

 

The two plot devices I really that l am uncomfortable with in movies is blackmail and taking hostages.

 

how come?

 

It's galling for me to see someone held against their will, someone else holding all the strings, you are now their puppet, they won't stop until you're bled dry. When they tell ya to jump, you've got to say "How high?" You want Dan Duryea holding the strings to your life? How 'bout Broderick Crawford making you accessory to murder and slobbering all over you to keep his yap shut. The desperation Joan Bennett felt even if James Mason tried to be nice about it...aaargh! I'll take any other plot point but that. Man, the fear...desperation...anxiety in keeping your secret hidden. Sure, I'll watch those films...but I'm always feeling like I'm eating vegetables. Murder and mayhem go down my cinematic palate a whole lot better. Love and romance. Comedy...not slapstick, but the sparkling silver nitrate-tinged champagne of a "Libeled Lady" or "The Awful Truth." Is there black-

mail in film noir? Yeah, I guess so. But isn't it moreso "please kill my husband so I, uhm....we, can be happy"?? I'll even take revenge before blackmail.

 

What can I say, that's the kind of M'Ava I am. What do I know.

 

Did I mention Robert Taylor's mid-western twang on my list of fav'rite voices? "Quo Vadis" is on now and he looks mighty good as a gladiator. To Jackaaaaaaay out there: his forearms are perfect.

 

Could you see Gable as a gladiator?

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> Believe me, I'm tryin'. I'm tryin'!

>

 

You're doing great, don't you worry.

 

> "Oh, I love him this way, too. Much better than Bertram Potts (Ball of Fire)." :D

>

> Or "Sorrowful Jones" or "Good Sam" or... wait, I do like Gary Cooper.

>

 

:D Listen, he's my favorite actor and I can tell you that I much MUCH prefer him this way to most of his comedies. You, me and Pauline Kael (you should read what SHE thought).

 

> "You haven't seen 'Unconquered'!" :D

>

> Uh-oh...my ignorance is showing. :-(

>

 

I wouldn't mind being in Paulette Goddard's place. :D

 

>

> It's galling for me to see someone held against their will, someone else holding all the strings, you are now their puppet, they won't stop until you're bled dry. When they tell ya to jump, you've got to say "How high?" You want Dan Duryea holding the strings to your life? How 'bout Broderick Crawford making you accessory to murder and slobbering all over you to keep his yap shut. The desperation Joan Bennett felt even if James Mason tried to be nice about it...aaargh! I'll take any other plot point but that. Man, the fear...desperation...anxiety in keeping your secret hidden. Sure, I'll watch those films...but I'm always feeling like I'm eating vegetables. Murder and mayhem go down my cinematic palate a whole lot better. Love and romance. Comedy...not slapstick, but the sparkling silver nitrate-tinged champagne of a "Libeled Lady" or "The Awful Truth." Is there black-

> mail in film noir? Yeah, I guess so. But isn't it moreso "please kill my husband so I, uhm....we, can be happy"?? I'll even take revenge before blackmail.

>

 

That really is VERY interesting. In fact, it's kind of a good germ of an idea for a new thread. What can't one tolerate in movies, or what really makes one squirm? Besides talking to FrankGrimes. :P

 

> What can I say, that's the kind of M'Ava I am. What do I know.

>

 

You know a lot!

 

> Did I mention Robert Taylor's mid-western twang on my list of fav'rite voices? "Quo Vadis" is on now and he looks mighty good as a gladiator. To Jackaaaaaaay out there: his forearms are perfect.

>

 

He does have nice arms.

 

I like midwestern accents when they say words like "Special" they pronounce it "Spaycial". Cute.

 

> Could you see Gable as a gladiator?

 

Yes, I can...he has the build...although I can't imagine him talking like one. But they didn't get a chance to say much, did they? "Maximus!"

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Howdy, Tall T (I like that one) -- I like what you wrote about The Hanging Tree. I liked the "softness" in your writing about Elizabeth (Maria Schell).

 

As Frank Grimes writes, ?Frail is a hurt and damaged man.? Poor baby, (Coop not Grimes).

 

I want to be a poor baby! I need the pity!

 

I was surprised to see Elizabeth throw her lot in with Frenchy.

 

Me, too. But he did present her and Rune with the best opportunity... ironically.

 

As it was playing out, I thought the money outweighed his desires for her. Good. But boy oh boy, was I wrong.

 

Now do you think us men are gonna settle for one thing when we can have two?

 

FrankGrimes writes: "As Elizabeth points out, Frail is torturous with his push-pull. It's something I can relate to.?

 

Why can you relate to that?

 

Because I always wish to draw a girl close but then I get scared when she gets too close. That's the ultimate push-pull and real torture.

 

WoW, I never thought of it that way. And that makes perfect sense, Grimesy. She did set out to seek her fortune. And she certainly does come to the rescue at the last possible moment.

 

She also speaks up about a guy only looking at her in a certain way. She's unafraid to get her hands dirty and is willing to speak up with Frail, an authoritative figure. She really gets on him when she learns he was paying for all her costs. Pretty doggone interesting.

 

I?m not a Western afficionado like the rest of you, but I can?t remember another movie (besides ?Westward the Women?) where a woman actively took charge of her future like that. We might see the ?after-the fact? situation where the woman has inherited land, or she herself IS the landbaron or she marries a landbaron. But to actually show her grinding it out, I don?t recall a movie...okay okay, go on guys, correct me.

 

I'm not sure, either. I have a feeling that Movieman is the one to answer that question. I don't believe I've seen a western with a female character such as "Elizabeth." It's rare to see a woman be the "heroine" of a western. The recently-discussed Rawhide features this. That would be an interesting discussion and thread, actually. "The Women of Westerns." Come to think of it, it would be a fascinating book. From "Amy Kane" to "Helen Ramirez" to "Vienna" to "Penelope Worth" to "Vance Jeffords" to "Altar Keane."

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> I have a feeling that Movieman is the one to answer that question.

 

One that comes to mind is "Arizona" with Jean Arthur. That is pretty much her movie. Maybe "Rancho Notorious" with Marlene Dietrich. "Yellow Sky" has a pretty tough Anne Baxter who is not going to be run over by Gregory Peck.

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I had forgotten I saw "The Hanging Tree" so long ago. I'm trying to get to it again (I even started it last night.) Here is something I posted in 2009.

 

"It has been a long time and I had forgotten a good deal about it. Cooper, as usual, is quite good. Tough guy when he needs to be, soft-hearted guy when he wants to be. I had completely forgotten how good Malden is in a role that, at first, he plays the annoying guy in everyone's life. He gets a lot more annoying as it goes on. Even George C. Scott shows up to be a little creepy in his small part.

 

"I don't have the problem with Schell that you both seemed to have. (Miss G and Rohanaka.) She just comes across as someone out of her element. She was brought up in an atmosphere that is so unlike what she has come to that she is mostly shy and holding on to her upbringing.

 

"Everyone needs to be fixed. Physically or emotionally everyone, even the town, needs to come to grips with something. They all find some way to deal with it, even Frenchie.

 

"The only drawback, and it is a slight, is how over-the-top the town's reaction is to the strike. It makes for good film but it is just a bit of a stretch.

 

"Great scenery. Daves uses the scenery to great benefit. People swallowed up or overcome by their surroundings. It is a subtle but important character. Fine film all around.'

 

More to come - I hope.

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You're right about Ann Doran. She is marvelous as the overbearing Mrs. Stark in Rebel Without a Cause having turned her husband to jelly but can't do it to her son. When Mr. Stark finally stands up to the mother and her and she lets her guard down you are glad for her, not saying "gotcha". Another candidate for What a Character.

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