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Heart o' the Hills (1919)

Family tensions in the Kentucky hills are inflamed by an outsider's dishonest scheme to exploit the area for its coal.

Directors:

, (as Sidney A. Franklin)

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Harold Goodwin ...
Allan Sears ...
Fred Huntley ...
Granpap Jason Hawn (as Fred W. Huntley)
...
Martha Hawn
Sam De Grasse ...
Steve Honeycutt
W.H. Bainbridge ...
Col. Pendleton (as William Bainbridge)
...
Gray Pendleton (as Jack Gilbert)
Betty Bouton ...
Marjorie Lee
Henry Hebert ...
Morton Sanders (as Henry Herbert)
Fred Warren ...
John Burnham
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Storyline

In the Kentucky hills, Jason Honeycutt lives with his harsh stepfather Steve, not far from where his friend Mavis Hawn lives with her widowed mother. Mavis spends much of her time preparing for the day when she can discover who murdered her father, and can exact revenge. Steve Honeycutt is romancing the widow Hawn, hoping to marry her and take control of her land, because he knows that visiting businessman Morton Sanders is planning to exploit the area for its coal. When Sanders's plan becomes known, a group of vigilantes confronts him by night, and soon shots are fired. Sanders is killed, and circumstantial evidence leads to Mavis being charged with the crime. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hill | kentucky | coal | widow | vigilante | See All (21) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heart of the Hills  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart O' The Hills
Words by Sam Lewis (as Sam M. Lewis) & Joe Young; music by Harry Ruby, c. 1919
'a song poem admiringly dedicated to Mary Pickford in her story of childhood in the Kentucky hills by John Fox Jr., A First National Attraction'
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User Reviews

Tense, Somber Melodrama With Good Photography
28 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The tense, somber melodrama in this Mary Pickford feature is complemented very well by Charles Rosher's photography, which helps to draw you in and makes you feel part of the characters' world. It has very little humor for a Pickford vehicle, and even the occasional lighter moments are almost invariably followed quickly by another serious turn, which keeps the mood serious most of the time.

The story has Pickford's character Mavis battling for survival in the Kentucky hills, seeking to avenge her father's murder even as she contends with outsiders who want to exploit the region's coal. There are several complicating factors, so that the scenario builds up a web of problems for Pickford and the other sympathetic characters to contend with. Among the secondary characters is a very young-looking John Gilbert, who is interesting to watch even though his role is not especially substantial.

Besides the relative lack of comedy, Pickford's character is unusually desperate. There is also a rather unsettling sequence with a vigilante confrontation that evokes some real anxiety, and a courtroom scene that anticipates one of the well-known scenes from "Spartacus". The story packs a lot of drama and tension into an hour and a quarter.

The cinematography helps considerably in making the story work. Despite the limitations of the era (and the damage done to the print over time), it makes you feel as if you really were in the Kentucky hills, with many outdoor shots that work very well, and many details that make the setting and story more believable. Pickford's own performance and screen presence are, of course, a plus to any movie. Amongst her features of the era, this one is good rather than excellent, but it's certainly worth seeing.


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