Silent Movie Bookshelf: The Complete Films of William S. Hart by Diane Kaiser Koszarski

This is how the (movie) west was won!

William S. Hart was one of the most popular western stars of the silent era. Though his films have a low loss rate, relatively few of them are available on home media. This book is valuable because it is the closest we may ever get to some of Hart’s more obscure titles. It also happens to be the gold standard in the “complete films of” book genre.

Availability: Out-of-print but available used.

What is it?: The book starts with a short but thorough biography of Hart and then it gets down to business: a listing of each and every one of William S. Hart’s films from 1914 to 1925, when he bid farewell to the movies with Tumbleweeds.

Pictures: The book is packed with pics, mostly stills from Hart’s movies.

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Reviews and Synopses: Each movie listing has a vintage synopsis and a several vintage reviews. Interestingly, the Hart films that were most critically acclaimed in his day seem to be the most popular ones today as well.

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Further Information: The book is also careful to list films that Hart directed, even when he did not take screen credit. The production dates, cost, number of reels, survival status and print sources are also listed. Fortunately for us, Hart has a very low rate of lost films.

Availability: No longer in print but available used.