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William S. Hart
William S. Hart,
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Edwin E. Reed
When Reverend Robert Henley and his sister Faith arrive in the town of Hell's Hinges, saloon owner Silk Miller and his cohorts sense danger to their evil ways. They hire gunman Blaze Tracy to run the minister out of town. But Blaze finds something in Faith Henley that turns him around, and soon Silk Miller and his compadres have Blaze to deal with.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
"Big Bill" is once more that terrible two-handed gunman whom you all love so well-and what he does to the "gang" who tried to do him "dirt" makes a cyclone look like an ordinary summer breeze. (Print Ad- Duluth Herald,((Duluth, Minn.)) 9 February 1918)
The grim, somber tone of this Western does not at all keep it from being a watchable and interesting feature. William S. Hart's screen presence is put to very good use, and the tension is built up steadily. The atmosphere is effective, and along with the story, it is interesting in its contrast with the usual expectations of the genre.
Hart is well-cast as the stoical gunslinger who becomes fascinated by the purity of a preacher's sister. The character's transformation might be a little too abrupt, and it might have been an even better movie if 'Blaze' had changed more reluctantly, but Hart himself is quite effective in the role. Jack Standing also does a good job as the weak-willed preacher whose folly leads to so much havoc.
The story is quite moralistic in its way, but it is nevertheless pretty interesting. The conflicts and tensions are of a much different nature than westerns usually feature, and the tone is unrelentingly serious and foreboding. Things are built up carefully into a harrowing finale that is filmed with a lot of detail.
Features like this show why Hart rose to such popularity. His persona seems to have been a good one for the times, and his strengths as an actor show up well in silent cinema.
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