A new preacher arrives at the sinningest town West of the Pecos. William S. Hart is a gunfighter with a homicidal streak determined to prevent law and religion from taking hold in Hell’s Hinges. There is shooting. So much shooting.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Hell’s Hinges (1916)”
Gallows humor wasn’t invented in the sound era. Silent films were more than capable of taking a dark turn, either for a joke or to crank up a scene’s tension.
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.
This Silent Movie Trivia Card concerns an 1916 apocalyptic western entitled Hell’s Hinges, which stars a very stern William S. Hart. While most writing on the film justly focuses on the famous ending, the rest of the movie’s story is equally fascinating. You know, darkness, redemption, revenge… Hart stuff. (You can read my full-length review here.)
However, there is plenty of interesting stuff going on in the background if you know what to look for. For example, there is a handsome young fella who is still a few years away from making his mark on the romance genre…
(I didn’t have time to do a screen grab but you can see our young Jack in action in my video review of the film.)
Availability: A gorgeous tinted print of Hell’s Hinges was released as part of the out-of-print Treasures From American Film Archives box set. There is an in-print Alpha release but I hear the image quality is pretty poor. Still, you can snag a copy for just a few bucks so…
My third video review! William S. Hart’s apocalyptic western is considered a classic of the genre. It features a suspenseful build-up, a fiery climax and an 18-year old John Gilbert in a supporting role. I recommend checking it out even if you are not an enormous fan of westerns. I think you will be surprised at its grit and raw power.
She’s the saintly sister of a debauched minister. He’s a somewhat homicidal gunslinger determined to run the church right out of town. Is that romance in the air? Marvelously apocalyptic western from everyone’s favorite Good Bad Man, William S. Hart.