A Western for Clint Eastwood to ‘Hang’ his hat on

TCM shows one of iconic star's first U.S. movie hits

Clint Eastwood in “Hang ‘Em High”

A pretty brutal Clint Eastwood Western, 1968’s “Hang ‘Em High” — which Turner Classic Movies shows Tuesday, Sept. 27 — telegraphs that it will have surprises right from the opening scene, in which Eastwood’s ex-lawman character is left for dead by a lynch mob in an impromptu hanging. It shouldn’t be much of a spoiler to report that it doesn’t succeed, since no filmmaker was going to kill off Eastwood in the first five minutes of a movie starring him.

A judge (Pat Hingle) cautions the near-victim not to become a vigilante himself, but being made a marshal again lets him cross paths with his assailants and pursue personal justice. Plenty of other familiar faces appear here, including Ed Begley, Ben Johnson, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and just about anyone else who wasn’t working on a John Wayne picture that month.

More Retro Rewinds

“The Devil Wears Prada” (Freeform, Tuesday, Sept. 27): For a textbook example of how to do a lot with a little, witness Meryl Streepʼs purposely minimal emoting in this top-notch 2006 comedy as an imperious fashion magazine editor. Anne Hathaway plays her newest assistant, whose initial failure to be fashion-forward gives her a definite outsider’s view; Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt are great as other members of the Streep character’s inner circle.

“Amen” (Cozi TV, Thursday, Sept. 29): After his successful run on “The Jeffersons,” Sherman Hemsley began another substantial sitcom tenure with the pilot for this show, in a role custom-built for him … a Philadelphia church deacon who collides, albeit relatively gently, with the new pastor (Clifton Davis). The attraction that the deacon’s daughter (Anna Maria Horsford) feels to the newcomer adds extra tension between the men.

“Scarface” (AMC, Thursday, Sept. 29): Admittedly, he takes the performance way over the top — quite famously — but Al Pacino delves into the part of mobster Tony Montana at full and profane force. Director Brian De Palma and writer Oliver Stone’s major 1983 update of a 1930s gangster classic has a violence level toned down for basic-cable showings; it also boasts a terrific supporting cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia and F. Murray Abraham.

“Count Yorga, Vampire” (MeTV, Saturday, Oct. 1): With Halloween not far away, an all-October “Svengoolie’s Halloween BOOnanza” event begins as the horror-movie host presents this 1970 vampire tale. Played by Robert Quarry, the title character is asked to stage a seance to bring back the spirit of a recently deceased person, but those who hired him don’t seem to notice he’s a vampire. Don’t worry … they’ll find out. Michael Murphy, who became well-known for his film work with Robert Altman and Woody Allen, also appears.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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