There was stars and superstars, and then there are the handful by whose success one may understand the nature of the movies' massive appeal to the public... One of these rare people was Gary Cooper, a forever reliable cowboy who remained the strong fairly silent, man of action... Cooper plays Doc Joe Frail, a frontier doctor running away from a personal tragedy... He now takes his Hippocratic oath with a little gambling and gunfighting in Skull Creek, a wild gold camp in the territory of Montana... Cooper saves an accused thief from a posse and, after healing the young Rune (Ben Piazza), they become friends... Next the Doc treats a young Swiss girl, Elizatbeth Mahler (Maria Schell), for shock and blindness suffered from exposure to the sun after a stage holdup... After succeeding in getting her sight back, Elizabeth was already in love with Frail... The doctor tries not to sound his feelings about her... Something was troubling his conscience deeply... He certainly hides a mysterious past... Frail aids Elizabeth in a grubstake and, with her partners Frenchy and Rune, she soon strikes it rich... Frenchy tries to force his attentions on Elizabeth, but just then Doc Frail rides up... Karl Malden is excellent as Frenchy, the hypocrite opportunistic, the person without scruples willing to make Elizabeth believes that he cares for her, and is after her love, not after her gold... Malden is very good as a supporting actor... He proved it in "The Gunfighter," with Gregory Peck, in "One-Eyed Jacks," with Marlon Brando, and in "Nevada Smith," with Steve McQueen... In his film debut, George C. Scott portrays the poisonous bible-punching drunk who incites and excites the whole town to carry Cooper to the hanging tree... Jerry Livingston's Title Song won an Academy Award Nomination...
The Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree
Character study of a Doctor who saves a local criminal from a mob who are trying to hang him, but then tries to control the life of the young man, realizing that he can exploit his secret.
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April 6, 2019