One action movie cliche that really needs to go is the Unflinching Walk Away from Destruction. You know what I mean, our protagonist blows up something (or is nearly blown up) and walks away from the fiery destruction without a flinch or a reaction. It’s supposed to show how tough our protagonist is but it just makes them look dim. Have they never heard of shrapnel?
Now compare our indomitable Mr. William S. Hart. This is Hell’s Hinges, he’s a gunslinger/assassin who recently got religion and the minute his back is turned, his old friends form a mob, burn down the church, shoot the minister… In short, they got Hart mad. Anyone who has seen a silent movie knows that this is the one thing you must never do. Do not get Hart mad.
See the difference? It’s the difference between trying to look like a tough cookie and actually being a tough cookie on the screen.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually know who the first person to walk dramatically away from destruction was. Would be interesting to find out!
Availability: There was a gorgeous print released in the out-of-print box set Treasures from American Film Archives: 50 Preserved Films. Alpha has released a bargain disc that is still in print. I have not viewed it but it’s quality is likely far lower than the box set release. However, it is quite inexpensive.