Hang 'Em High (1968)

114 mins | Western | August 1968

Director:

Ted Post

Producer:

Leonard Freeman

Cinematographer:

Leonard South

Editor:

Gene Fowler Jr.

Production Designer:

John Goodman
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HISTORY

The 10 Feb 1966 DV announced that Mel Goldberg had been hired to write the script for Hang ‘Em High, based on an original story idea from producer Leonard Freeman. Ted Post was hired to direct, and Clint Eastwood was cast in the role of “Jed Cooper,” as announced in the 3 May 1967 DV, which also stated that United Artists would release the picture.
       Principal photography began 19 Jun 1967 in New Mexico, according to a 23 Jun 1967 DV production chart. Following location shooting in and around Las Cruces, NM, interiors were set to be filmed in rented space at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios in Century City, CA. On 8 Aug 1967, DV reported that the shoot would wrap that day.
       An announcement in the 28 Jul 1967 DV stated that Doris Tsoong-Ying Nieh had been cast.
       Clint Eastwood reportedly received a salary of $400,000, in addition to twenty-five percent of the film’s net profits, according to a 12 Jun 1968 Var brief. A 23 Apr 1969 DV item stated that the film cost $1.68 million, and went on to become a box-office success, grossing $15 million to that time.
       Although the 17 Jul 1968 Var review deemed the picture “morbidly violent” and described hanging scenes as “shown in meticulous, morbid detail,” reviews in the 8 Aug 1968 NYT and 15 Aug 1968 LAT cited the final mass hanging sequence as the film’s dramatic and artistic high point. According to a 21 Jul 1967 DV article, the staged hangings represented a first “in ... More Less

The 10 Feb 1966 DV announced that Mel Goldberg had been hired to write the script for Hang ‘Em High, based on an original story idea from producer Leonard Freeman. Ted Post was hired to direct, and Clint Eastwood was cast in the role of “Jed Cooper,” as announced in the 3 May 1967 DV, which also stated that United Artists would release the picture.
       Principal photography began 19 Jun 1967 in New Mexico, according to a 23 Jun 1967 DV production chart. Following location shooting in and around Las Cruces, NM, interiors were set to be filmed in rented space at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios in Century City, CA. On 8 Aug 1967, DV reported that the shoot would wrap that day.
       An announcement in the 28 Jul 1967 DV stated that Doris Tsoong-Ying Nieh had been cast.
       Clint Eastwood reportedly received a salary of $400,000, in addition to twenty-five percent of the film’s net profits, according to a 12 Jun 1968 Var brief. A 23 Apr 1969 DV item stated that the film cost $1.68 million, and went on to become a box-office success, grossing $15 million to that time.
       Although the 17 Jul 1968 Var review deemed the picture “morbidly violent” and described hanging scenes as “shown in meticulous, morbid detail,” reviews in the 8 Aug 1968 NYT and 15 Aug 1968 LAT cited the final mass hanging sequence as the film’s dramatic and artistic high point. According to a 21 Jul 1967 DV article, the staged hangings represented a first “in that actual noose and gibbet were used, utilizing a tied-off section of the knot that prevented stuntmen’s neck[s] from breaking.” Stuntman coordinator Harvey Parry worked with special effects man George Swartz to design a special platform, which took four weeks to build. Parry “pre-tested the device” several times himself and admitted being anxious that something might go wrong. The gallows was fashioned after “authentic western and English types,” but the ten-foot “drop” was considerably higher than the standard 3½-to-4½-feet employed in real-life gallows, and 2½ feet in prop versions. Stuntmen who performed in the scene wore leg irons and hoods, with padding around their necks to prevent rope burns, and fell through a trap door onto padded boxes.
       The picture was released on 7 Aug 1968 in New York City, and one week later in Los Angeles, CA, prior to the unveiling of the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) new rating system. However, when a reissue of Hang ‘Em High was released on a double bill with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1967, see entry) in Jul 1969, the picture was given an “M” rating, or “suggested for mature audiences (parental discretion advised),” as noted in the 23 Jul 1969 Var.
       The 3 Jul 1968 Var stated that a paperback novelization was due to be published by Popular Library.
       Musician Dominic Frontiere won a Broacast Music, Inc. (BMI) award for the title song he composed for the picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 May 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Jun 1967
p. 8.
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1969
p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
1 May 1967
Section C, p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jul 1968
Section F, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
15 Aug 1968
Section E, p. 25.
New York Times
8 Aug 1968
p. 27.
Variety
26 Jul 1967
p. 4.
Variety
12 Jun 1968
p. 4.
Variety
3 Jul 1968
p. 20.
Variety
17 Jul 1968
p. 6.
Variety
28 Aug 1968
p. 5.
Variety
23 Jul 1969.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Supervisor prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Main titles
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Release Date:
August 1968
Premiere Information:
Chicago premiere: 31 July 1968
New York opening: 7 August 1968
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1968
Production Date:
19 June--8 August 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Leonard Freeman Productions
Copyright Date:
12 April 1968
Copyright Number:
LP35839
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
De Luxe
Duration(in mins):
114
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1889 Oklahoma, rancher Jed Cooper is hanged and left for dead by a nine-man lynch mob who believe him guilty of murder and cattle-rustling. After being saved by a passerby, Jed is exonerated and then appointed deputy marshal by Judge Adam Fenton. Jed rounds up many of the territory's toughest outlaws, but he refrains from tracking down his nine hangmen because of the judge's admonitions about taking the law into his own hands. Eventually, however, Captain Wilson, leader of the lynch mob, shoots Jed to protect his own life. Only wounded, however, Jed is nursed back to health by Rachel, a young widow who is seeking revenge against the same men, who raped her after shooting down her husband. Once Jed has recovered, he pursues and kills part of Wilson's gang; the others desert Wilson, who hangs himself rather than face Jed's wrath. Aware that his vengeance has offered him no solace, Jed attempts to turn in his badge. Judge Fenton salves his conscience by releasing a prisoner who gave himself up, and Jed consents to stay on as ... +


In 1889 Oklahoma, rancher Jed Cooper is hanged and left for dead by a nine-man lynch mob who believe him guilty of murder and cattle-rustling. After being saved by a passerby, Jed is exonerated and then appointed deputy marshal by Judge Adam Fenton. Jed rounds up many of the territory's toughest outlaws, but he refrains from tracking down his nine hangmen because of the judge's admonitions about taking the law into his own hands. Eventually, however, Captain Wilson, leader of the lynch mob, shoots Jed to protect his own life. Only wounded, however, Jed is nursed back to health by Rachel, a young widow who is seeking revenge against the same men, who raped her after shooting down her husband. Once Jed has recovered, he pursues and kills part of Wilson's gang; the others desert Wilson, who hangs himself rather than face Jed's wrath. Aware that his vengeance has offered him no solace, Jed attempts to turn in his badge. Judge Fenton salves his conscience by releasing a prisoner who gave himself up, and Jed consents to stay on as marshal. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.