Ted Post

Active - 1956 - 1992  |   Born - Mar 31, 1918   |   Died - Aug 20, 2013   |   Genres - Action, Western, Drama, Science Fiction, Mystery

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Ted Post started out as a stage director before turning to television, TV movies, and occasional feature films. Although not a stylist in any identifiable sense, Post had a way of choosing projects that occasionally allowed him a notable flourish or two on screen, and got to work with several notable actors at the outsets of their careers. His feature film debut, The Peacemaker (1956), was an unusual programmer about a gunslinger-turned-minister who tries to bring peace to a western town. The Legend of Tom Dooley (1959), which seems to have been built around the hit song by the Kingston Trio, was a post-Civil War drama about a rebel unwittingly turned outlaw, notable for its star, Michael Landon, who was about to burst on the small screen as the star of Bonanza. Post's next feature film, Hang 'Em High, was a western drama starring Clint Eastwood in his first American film following his trilogy of spaghetti westerns for Sergio Leone -- the story of a rancher wrongly hanged for rustling who survives to become a deputy U.S. Marshal and hunt down the men responsible. Post got excellent porformances not only out of Eastwood but also Pat Hingle (who delivers one brilliant speech), Ed Begley Sr., and Bruce Dern. Post directed Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), sequel to the hit 1968 movie, but it suffered from some excessive editing. And his Magnum Force (1973), the second of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry movies, suffered in comparison to the neatly constructed first film. But Go Tell the Spartans (1978), a compelling drama set during the early days of the Vietnam War, featured excellent performances and pacing all around, and stands as one of the finest (if least seen), least pretentious Vietnam movies ever made. Post directed through the early '90s, including the 1981 pilot for Cagney and Lacey. He died in 2013 at the age of 95.

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