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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hangman's Knot (1952)

Unaware that the war between the states is over, a group of Confederate soldiers attack a Union cavalry troop carrying a shipment of gold. They are pursued by a band of vigilantes who want the gold for themselves. Trapped at a stagecoach way station, it's a stand off between the Confederates and the vigilantes with civilians caught in between. I'm not partial to films that are sympathetic to Southern rebels as if somehow they were wronged anymore than I would be to films that tend to portray "good" Nazis. The lead character played by Randolph Scott (in one of his best performances) gives us the usual "I was a soldier just doing my job" line and while that may be true, why is he keeping the gold instead of returning it? My personal prejudices aside, it's an extremely well made oater that manages to intensify the action with the characters holed up in a claustrophobic situation. Written and directed by Roy Huggins (whose only feature film this is as a director). With Donna Reed, Lee Marvin, Richard Denning, Frank Faylen, Jeanette Nolan, Ray Teal and Claude Jarman Jr. (THE YEARLING).

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