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The Hanging Tree Blu-ray Review


“The Hanging Tree” is an underrated western.

“The Hanging Tree” revolves around a grouchy and controlling Doctor (Joe Frail) who strolls into a Montana gold mining camp, buys a property for his business and home, and saves a robber (Rune) from death. In return for having his life saved, Rune soon works for Frail. The rest of the film deals with a kind hearted woman (Elizabeth) who was injured in a traumatic accident, a creepy misogynistic miner (Frenchy), a gold mining business, romance, and the ever looming presence of the titular hanging tree which certainly comes into play at one point.

“The Hanging Tree” (which is directed by Delmer Daves) doesn’t play like your average western. There’s more of an emphasis on character than story, there are no gunslinger heroes, and the main character is kind of a jackass Doctor who likes to seclude himself. Now, if the characters weren’t interesting, the movie would likely fall flat on its face, but that’s not the case. Everyone here is pretty fascinating. There’s a mysterious Doctor with a dark past (Gary Cooper), a unnerving miner who gets under your skin (Karl Malden), an angry healer/fortune teller who spouts bible verses (George C. Scott), a temporarily blind woman who lost everything AND begins to fall for her Doctor (Maria Schell), and a thief who redeems himself (Ben Piazza). Of course, it helps that everyone who plays these characters gives a first rate performance especially Gary Cooper in one of his final film roles and Karl Malden who steals the show as the slimy Frenchy.

Another intriguing aspect of “The Hanging Tree” is the film’s themes. For the most part, it’s actually a rather dark story about violence, greed, and mob rule, but there’s an underlying theme of compassion that is essentially the heart of the film.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? An impressive transfer. The exterior location shooting scenes are especially noteworthy here.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The track is a bit soft but it’s solid nonetheless.

The lone extra is a trailer for “The Hanging Tree.”

February 5, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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