ON THE NIGHT STAGE
1915, 62 min, USA, Dir: Reginald Barker

William S. Hart, plays “Silent” Texas Smith, a man to whom actions speak louder than words in this Western. A new parson (Robert Edeson) converts saloon dancer Belle Shields (Rhea Mitchell), drawing her away from her stagecoach robber boyfriend (Hart) – until she attracts the attention of a ne’er do well gambler. While Edeson received top billing, Hart’s charismatic virility and acting genius made him a natural standout in his second feature length film. Producer Thomas H. Ince assigned Reginald Barker to direct but the film contains the unmistakable stamp of Hart’s intuitive grasp of the new medium. With its terrifically staged, massive saloon fight, this is a wonderfully enjoyable example of early American feature filmmaking.


THE BARGAIN
1914, 70 min, USA, Dir: Reginald Barker

One of the finest actors of early cinema, William S. Hart benefited from his association with legendary producer Thomas H. Ince in a series of outstanding early features. In his first full-length film, a portion of which was shot at the Grand Canyon, Hart’s iconic screen character as the bad man struggling with his conscience is already firmly in place. Co-starring one of Hart’s favorite leading actresses, Clara Williams. In 2010, this outstanding silent was added to the National Film Registry.


THE COWARD (1915)
1915, 77 min, USA, Dir: Reginald Barker, Thomas H. Ince

Charles Ray became a major star following his sensitive portrayal of the pampered son of a proud colonel (Frank Keenan, grandfather of actor Keenan Wynn), who is forced to join Confederate troops on the Civil War battlefield.


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