Ice Harding, outlaw, tames a wild horse and names it King. Ice and his gang hold up a stagecoach and encounter San Francisco vice king Bates and his innocent niece Betty Werdin. Ice is ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Ice Harding (as Wm. S. Hart)
Sylvia Breamer ...
Betty Werdin (as Sylvia Bremer)
Milton Ross ...
'Admiral' Bates
Bob Kortman ...
Moose Holleran (as Robert Kortman)
Fritz ...
King - Ice's new horse
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Storyline

Ice Harding, outlaw, tames a wild horse and names it King. Ice and his gang hold up a stagecoach and encounter San Francisco vice king Bates and his innocent niece Betty Werdin. Ice is taken with the young woman, but at first she sees nothing in him. But she begins to come around when her uncle tries to swindle Ice, and the outlaw himself undergoes a change of course under the influence of the girl. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Western

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Release Date:

30 December 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La révélation  »

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1.33 : 1
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Final film of Fritz (William S. Hart's horse), See more »

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Hart's Best
13 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is, apparently, William S. Hart's first Artcraft picture under Paramount, away from Triangle. Thomas H. Ince and cinematographer Joseph H. August join him, as does, for the first time, director Lambert Hillyer, who would direct many of Hart's Westerns, including "The Toll Gate" (1920). The top Hollywood stars of the era (Hart, Pickford, Fairbanks, Chaplin, etc.) tended to play the same characters every picture (not that this would significantly change later). Unlike Chaplin, Fairbanks, or Pickford, however, Hart has been largely forgotten today. I think this is mostly because one nation, the US, is nearly entirely responsible for the Western genre, which is based in a time that existed briefly and only in a part of the country. And, the Western film has not faired well anywhere lately. On the other hand, comedies, melodramas and swashbucklers have had more universal and lasting appeal.

I don't care much for some of Hart's vehicles, because they are often so much the same: Hart is the good bad-man--a bandit who reforms after seeing a pure woman. That's basically what happens in "The Narrow Trail", too, but it's not as black and white. This outing, the woman has her own personal quarrels. The cocky, charismatic good bad-man devoted to his pony falls down some stairs after trying to sit down. And, Hart takes a brutal mob beating at one point. Being familiar with star vehicles, one appreciates such subtle variations. Additionally, I find it easier to relate to Hart's passion for and romanticism of the old frontier as a result.

The quick editing and nice scenery, in addition to the scenes in San Francisco, help, as well. Parallel editing emphasizes the comparison between the leads when Hart reckons he'll follow her to San Francisco. As in other Hart Westerns, the vernacular is used well in the intertitles. There is also the appeal of simplicity, which the production of the film reflects. It's a simple story and film, with the simple values of a bygone era.

(Note: The print I saw seemed near-complete, but was missing some brief footage and contained very slight mottling. Its runtime was approximately 53 minutes.)


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