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Author Topic: The Hanging Tree (1959)  (Read 6113 times)
titoli
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« on: February 12, 2009, 06:10:07 AM »

What one needs after having sat through this schlocky melodrama. Only thing I save is Malden's great performance (but that is no news). Cooper is good at playing Coop as usual but his part is unmemorable. Scott has been praised but he does very little. EMS is good at crying.   4\10

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 01:55:44 PM »

Dir  Delmer Daves, with Gary Cooper  as Dr. Joseph 'Doc' Frail,  Maria Schell playing  Elizabeth Mahler,  Karl Malden as  Frenchy Plante,  George C. Scott  as fire & brimstone preacher/nut ball  Dr. George Grubb.  I have this on Dvix so I can't stop it and return to a chapter stop, but of what I've seen its an excellent Western with a good cast, but its more drama than action so far,  not a top tier by any means but pretty solid with a realistic looking mining camp set in Montana Territory which is probably upping my estimate.

I'll add to this when I let it play through to the place I stopped it. 

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cigar joe
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009, 04:10:54 PM »

Yea titoli is right, it really turns into a shlocky melodrama 5/10

Just a PS its shot around Yakima Washingston (East slope of the Cascade Range) which looks remarkably like Southwest and East slope of the Continental Divide Montana.  Afro

« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 06:09:44 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 03:13:06 AM »

It must have won an Oscar for something it was on TCM's 31 days programing of Oscar winning films leading up to the ceremony.

I watched it while working on the computer, haven't changed my opinion.

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stanton
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 01:06:15 PM »

This film needs some defence. A good one, despite being melodramatic. 7/10

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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 08:41:37 PM »

I respectfully disagree.

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Another solid "adult Western" from Delmer Daves (Broken Arrow, Jubal), The Hanging Tree (1959) moves beyond the shallow characterizations and shootouts so common to the genre. Its interesting cast, beautiful photographer and complicated story make for an enjoyable "adult Western."

Dr. Joseph Frail (Gary Cooper), an amoral man with a past, drifts into a Montana mining town and sets up shop. Rescuing petty criminal Rune (Ben Piazza) from a lynch mob, Frail makes the boy his indentured servant, initiating an tense relationship. Things grow more complicated when Elizabeth Mahler (Maria Schell), the lone survivor of a stagecoach robbery, is nurtured back to health by Frail, with the townspeople - including mad faith healer Grubb (George C. Scott) - gossiping about their relationship. When Frail and Elizabeth forge a business arrangement with the lecherous Frenchy (Karl Malden), trouble isn't far behind.

The Hanging Tree is as much melodrama as Western, scoring with a fascinating cast. Frail starts out the film mixing with a violent temper with a controlling nature, becoming more sympathetic as layers of his personality are peeled away. He's matched with interesting supporting players: Rune's relationship with Frail seems to invite Freudian interpretation, Frenchy's mixture of friendliness and primal lust is perfectly-rendered, while the chipper, strong-willed Elizabeth makes an interesting heroine. This interesting cast place The Hanging Tree in a league with the best character-driven Westerns: The Big Country, The Gunfighter, The Man from Laramie.

Delmer Daves captures some beautiful Yakima, Washington locations, highlighted by an intricately-constructed mining camp. The film is deliberately paced but Wendell Mayes and Halsted Welles' expert script keeps things interesting. Action is sparse but the violence, when it comes, is shockingly direct. Daves doesn't mind incorporating overt Biblical imagery into the finale, as the gold-crazed miners torch their own lodgings. In this context, the seemingly abrupt, convenient ending fits like a glove. Max Steiner adds a nice score, topped with cheesy Marty Robbins ballad.

Gary Cooper gives one of his best performances. Frail is a more convincing heel than Cooper's reformed outlaw in Man of the West since we actually see his nastiness, yet his vulnerability and misanthropy makes him interestingly complex. Maria Schell is appealing, even if her conversion from damsel in distress to tough frontier girl is abrupt. Karl Malden's (On the Waterfront) amiable bully and Ben Piazza's put-upon manservant provide solid support. Familiar face Karl Swenson (Major Dundee) has a larger-than-normal role as a friendly shopkeeper. The weak spot is George C. Scott (Patton), squandered in a bizarre role.

The Hanging Tree makes for interesting viewing. Delmer Daves and Co. craft an enjoyable film that's smarter than the average Western. 8/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/10/hanging-tree.html

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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 09:12:24 PM »

I don't care for the blind girl shtick, and I've never bought Malden as a Western character in any Westerns I've seen him in. Like the sets though.

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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 01:49:18 AM »

I'd rate this movie a 7.25/10, having just seen it on TCM (the movie was shown in 4:3, so it was pan and scanned. but it ain't available anywhere in America, so far as i know).

this may have been my favorite Malden performance. Nice to see an early pairing of the future Generals Patton and Bradley  Afro, though Scott's talent was  wasted here

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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 06:50:45 AM »

I'd rate this movie a 7.25/10, having just seen it on TCM (the movie was shown in 4:3, so it was pan and scanned. but it ain't available anywhere in America, so far as i know).


I have written about it in another thread. Of course I haven't seen iit on TCM, but I doubt that it was pan & scan. It was most likely open matte. Which means you have not seen less on the sides (well a tiny bit less), but more on top and bottom.

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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 11:04:06 AM »

I have written about it in another thread. Of course I haven't seen iit on TCM, but I doubt that it was pan & scan. It was most likely open matte. Which means you have not seen less on the sides (well a tiny bit less), but more on top and bottom.

I'm no expert on aspect ratios, but imdb says this movie's aspect ratio is 1.85:1. And TCM showed it in 4:3. Doesn't that mean they chopped the sides pretty significantly? of course it's not as much as if it were a 2.35:1 movie, but the diff. between 1.85:1 and 4:3 is still pretty significant

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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2011, 01:29:26 PM »

But it was shot on 1,37:1 35 mm film. But in cinema it was masked on top and bottom so that you get a 1,85:1 image. The image composition was of course done for this 1,85:1 showing. One advantage was in the area of 4:3 TV that they could simply show the whole image on TV without the usual loss of picture information at the sides you automatically have with anamorphic 2,35:1 films.

We had discussed this for OUTA which was exactly for this reason also shot "only" for 1,85:1.

Pan & scan means btw that there are additional camera movements and cuts (which don't belong to the original film).
For example if 2 people are talking which are on the left and on the right side of the image you would only see parts of them or even don't see them at all if they show only the 1,33:1 middle of the 2,35:1 image. There could even be a long scene with people talking but you would not see them, but only the empty space between them. Or from the triello in GBU you only see the one in the middle. But with pan &scan there are additional camera movements from the right to the left and back. Or there are additional cuts so that you see alternately the left and then the other side.
Anyway, 2,35:1 films in 4:3 look extremely shitty. I recognize it mostly immediately without checking any books. The images look somehow wrong.

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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 02:55:18 PM »

yeah, you can tell there is something wrong with the picture usually. i started watchng THE STALKING MOON on Netflix streaming, and shut it off after 2 mins. i could instantly tell it was chopped significantly and looked awful.... btw are you saying all 35 mm film had a 4:3 aspect raio?

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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 03:36:36 AM »

There are always a few exceptions, and Techniscope is one of them, but yes, generally 35 mm film has an aspect ratio of 1,37:1. The most used ways to get a widescreen picture is the masking of top and bottom to a 1,85:1 image (or in several SWs and other European films of the 60s to 1,66:1), or the use of an anaphormic lense which compresses a 2,35:1 image to the 1,37:1 of the negative, and is then in the theatres decompressed back to the 2,35:1.

70 mm film is the real widescreen negative format, but it was used only seldom because it was too expensive. Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail (1930) was btw a first try to establish a widescreen format. But it flopped and the idea was buried until the 50s.

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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2012, 07:40:47 AM »

Hanging Tree is finally on disc! Savant sez:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3946tree.html

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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2012, 09:30:37 AM »

Hanging Tree is finally on disc! Savant sez:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3946tree.html

I'll pass on it.

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