Hang 'Em High

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Details At A Glance

Category Western Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1 non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
8-page Booklet
Year Released 1968
Running Time 110:05 
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (54:54)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Ted Post

Warner Home Video
Starring Clint Eastwood
Inger Stevens
Ed Begley
Pat Hingle
Case Brackley
RPI $39.95 Music Dominic Frontiere

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s) 
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?? Smoking Yes
Subtitles English 
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    Hang 'Em High is Clint Eastwood's first Hollywood Western, and it is certainly a very good one. The plot is a simple one, as you might expect. Clint Eastwood is found with a herd of cattle, and since the man who owned them was found dead, it is presumed that he stole and murdered for them. He is therefore left to hang by a posse of nine who ignore his cries of innocence. This all happens in the opening scenes, and whilst nowadays we can be sure that Clint Eastwood will not be killed off ten minutes into a major film, audiences of 1968 were quite surprised to say the least. However, Jed Cooper (Clint Eastwood) is found soon after by a lawman, and taken to trial, where he is not only found innocent, but hired by the local sheriff as a Deputy Marshall. This gives him all he needs to track down his nine unsuspecting executioners and dish out his own justice - Eastwood style.

    You can imagine the rest of the story, and you would be right. Clint Eastwood is sublime in his role, and whilst it was his first Hollywood picture, he was no newbie to the cinema or the television, having served 7 years on Rawhide and performing in the Dollars trilogy, beginning with A Fistful Of Dollars in 1964. This picture did nothing to harm his career, and I certainly enjoyed watching it for the first time some 32 years later.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness-wise, this is a great-looking transfer. There is plenty of detail to be found in almost every scene, and the transfer has a film-like quality to it. There were some exceptions to this, and every now and then a particular scene or shot would be quite poor in clarity and sharpness, but since they were few and far between I did not find them too bothersome. Shadow detail is very good for a movie of this vintage. There is very little low-level noise, and only a hint of film grain.

    The colour palette was natural, with skin tones being a tad lighter than perfect. There were no really striking scenes, but on the whole the colour balance was very good, again especially for a movie of this age.

    There were no MPEG artefacts during the movie, which is essential in providing a solid image. There was also little in the way of film-to-video artefacts, save for some minor telecine wobble here and there. The only failing of this transfer is the rather plentiful number of film artefacts which pop up all the way through the movie, and range from minor white spots to great chunks of the picture changing colour. They were quite regular; for a while there would be none at all, and then another lot would show up. I will forgive these problems since the movie is 32 years old, and they did not detract from the viewing of this film for me much at all.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring between chapters 17 and 18, at 55:54. It is placed during a natural fade to black, and is so good that I completely missed it whilst watching the movie for the first time. You can't beat that.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five audio tracks on this disc, all in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. In order, they are; English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. It is regrettable that the English soundtrack is far and away the worst-sounding of the five, and for reasons that could easily have been avoided.

    Dialogue was at all times easily understood, and was presented quite well. There were no significant lip-sync problems.

    The musical score is fairly typical of what you might expect from a Western-style movie, and it is not without its own charm I must say. It would have been quite nice to be able to hear the score without the incredibly bad distortion which occurs whenever the sound level rises above a certain point. The distortion is the result of the signal saturating, and it appears that the levels were set too high when this disc was pressed. It consists of very harsh crackling - not quite digital in nature, because the soundtrack can still be heard rather than being a total mess; and it occurs all too frequently. It got to the stage where I prayed there would be no more loud passages. Naturally they occurred, and I cringed all the way through. This should never have made it to release, and as far as I am concerned the disc should be remastered. It is interesting to note that this problem simply does not occur on the other soundtracks; though they sound markedly inferior in frequency response and clarity, it still beats having to put up with heavy distortion on a regular basis. It's a pity I only understand English.

    It is a shame the English soundtrack is as poor as it is, because there is plenty of weight to the sound, with excellent use of the subwoofer when called upon. The score benefits enormously from this quality.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, non 16x9 enhanced and in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. This is a truly excellent trailer, and most enjoyable. Its inclusion is most welcome.

8-page Booklet

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The R1 version is double sided, with a widescreen transfer on one side, and a pan & scan transfer on the other. With more room for MPEG compression, coupled with a PAL transfer, the R4 version is undoubtedly the superior.


    Hang 'Em High is a good, decent Western movie that entertained me solidly for nearly two hours. Clint Eastwood is simply perfect in his role.

    The video transfer has numerous film artefacts, but is still very sharp and detailed, and will please even fussy viewers in spite of those problems.

    The distorted English soundtrack is an abomination, and a remaster is urgently required to bring its classic Western score back to the life this hints at.

    An excellent trailer and a cursory 8-page booklet make up the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Cordingley (bio)
30th August, 2000.

Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video connected)
Display Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm rear-projection 16:9 Widescreen
Amplification Sony STRDB-930 (Optically connected)
Speakers Sony SS-CN35 100-watt (centre) , Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders x 4 ( main & surrounds), Optimus 100-watt passive subwoofer