THE HANGING TREE REVIEWED
“The Hanging Tree” is why I love Delmer Daves. Daves knew how to hit the dirty nature of Western folk. Whether it’s his amazing direction in Jubal, 3:10 to Yuma or this film…he simply gets Western cruelty. Gary Cooper stars as Doc Frail. Frail is an older gunslinger turned town doctor. The guy is a mensch doing what he can for the poor miners that are trying to scrape by as the Gold Rush comes to an end. All the while, George C. Scott (in his film debut) watches him with envious anger.
When the burned Maria Schell is found wandering in the wilderness after a robbery, Frail takes care of her. But, it’s done in a way that borderlines the forced servitude he places on former thief/turned assistant Rune. The men in the town are envious that the old man gets to keep the pretty new stranger and they doubt his abilities to heal them. Especially since George C. Scott is pushing faith healing as the means to their betterment.
What happens? Well, when you get enough poor rural people together in an isolated setting…what do you think happens? People get nuts and Daves does his best work showing them destroy their town in the finale. The Hanging Tree is a forgotten classic from the late 1950s and one that I love seeing Warner Archive bring back to the masses.
- 1.78:1 1080p transfer
- DTS-HD 2.0 MONO