A Comment On A Silent Film Western

A 64-minute silent film, Hell’s Hinges (1916) is a Western released only a couple of decades after the Old West had faded away.

A Protestant preacher, accompanied by his Protestant sister, is sent to a western town to start a church.  The many reprobate men there resist this church-planting and hope to discredit the preacher, not a very hard task since Parson Henley is probably the weakest Christian on the face of the earth.  But gunslinger Blaze Tracy (William S. Hart) ain’t weak.  This evil fellow falls in love with the preacher’s sister and, possibly blessed with God working on him, wants to reform.  And does, though not without literally fighting fire with fire.

This Charles Swickard-directed short can be exciting and, in some ways, lovable.  Tragic too.

It is perhaps only via the DVD set called Treasures From American Film Archives that Hell’s Hinges can be seen on disc.

 

 

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