Jed Cooper dangled from a rope and lived to get revenge on those who tried to hang an innocent man. Sounds like a Clint Eastwood movie doesn’t it? For those of you who are fans, you know that it is a Clint Eastwood movie from the late sixties.
I’ve watched “Hang ‘Em High” many times. I’ve watched it through the years and my opinion has changed. The movie is still a classic, but I have trouble with the characters.
First, the plot of the movie – it’s a Clint Eastwood western, so it is pretty easy to guess who the hero is going to be and that he is not going be killed off in the opening scene. A group of vigilantes round up Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) and accuse him of cattle rustling and murder.
They hang him and leave him for dead. Jed/Clint Eastwood doesn't die. He hangs there and miraculously lives until a fellow comes along and cuts him down. He returns to his former profession of a badge wearing tough lawman to track down the fellows who left a really bad scar on his neck.
Clint brings them to justice – you know that he will. He’s Clint Eastwood. The next best cowboy to John Wayne – maybe even a better one for these types of movies.
John Wayne was born “Marion Morrison,” played football for Southern Cal, took his nickname from his dog (the “Duke”) and entertained folks for years to come…
Clint Eastwood was born “Clint Eastwood,” the son of Clint Eastwood; he served in the Army where he met David Janssen (Remember “The Fugitive”) and Martin Milner (Remember “Adam-12” and “Emergency”). These fellows talked Clint into going in for a screen test or whatever you call it when he got out of the military.
So… Clint passed the test. As a result, we got all these great western movies, Dirty Harry and those “Bridges in Madison County.”
The good stuff…
If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch Hang ‘Em High, made in 1968, you need to watch at least the first five minutes or so.
When the fellow cuts Jed/Clint down from the tree he was hanging in, you can see a truck or car driving in the background. I bet you didn’t know they had pickup trucks in the Wild West – they did. I know it was a mistake, but it’s worth seeing.
As noted, my watching and opinion of Hang ‘Em High has changed through the years; it’s not Clint Eastwood’s fault and the pickup truck doesn’t bother me either.
You see he has all these folks in the movie with him that just don’t belong there.
Do you remember “the Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island? His name was Alan Hale, Jr. We will always remember him as Gilligan’s bumbling buddy and their escapades being stranded on the island with the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann. It makes me want to just hum along with the song.
The Skipper is one of the bad guys who tried to hang Clint Eastwood in this movie and I have a real difficult time believing that he would try to hurt him after all these years watching Gilligan’s Island. I even have a harder time thinking that Clint would want to shoot him.
At one of the hangings of bad guys in the movie, they have a minister officiating the ceremony. He is not a minister; he is “Danno.” Didn’t you watch Hawaii Five-O? Don’t you remember, “Book ‘Em Danno?” He has no business standing up there with a preacher hat on at a hanging….
He needs to be in Hawaii chasing bad guys and helping Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett. Grab your Hawaiian “Flowerdy” shirt and somebody cue up the Hawaii Five-O theme song….
How about Millie, who ran the bakery in The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD? In this particular movie, she is a call girl of sorts who keeps ending up in the bedroom with Clint Eastwood. Again, I see Millie in the bakery much easier than in the bedroom.
After years and years of watching the same shows… I do watch the same shows…
I seem to be guilty of stereotyping the stars of the shows and movies I grew up with and continue to watch. I want the Skipper to wear his hat and act silly, I want Danno booking folks and for goodness sakes, I want Millie selling honey buns or cupcakes or something other than what she was selling.
The Skipper left us in 1990.
Danno/ James MacArthur died in 2010.
Millie/ Arlene Golonka is alive and well in California. She seems to be a dog lover and enjoying life to the fullest.
Clint Eastwood is still alive and helping folks. Just this past February, at 83 years-old, Eastwood saved a fellow who was choking on a piece of cheese. Mr. Eastwood performed the Heimlich maneuver on the fellow and kept him from choking to death.
I'm not sure what type of cheese it was, but don’t you just love heroes like that?
PS Mr. Eastwood: Please stick to just visiting Millie’s bakery… that’s the way I like to think of her.
Cranks My Tractor
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