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.


SKYSCRAPER SOULS
1932, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: Edgar Selwyn

This Edgar Selwyn-directed melodrama practically shouts its amorality from the rooftops. Warren Williams is a ruthless financier who will crush anyone in his path to maintain control of a hundred-story skyscraper. Maureen O’Sullivan, Veree Teasdale and Hedda Hopper are the exploited women in his life. This glossy, sexy soaper, adapted from Faith Baldwin’s novel, aptly contrasts the poor working stiffs slaving away as Williams’ office tenants while he luxuriates in the lap of decadent luxury.


WAGON TRACKS
1919, Paramount, 64 min, USA, Dir: Lambert Hillyer

Produced by Thomas H. Ince (and beautifully shot by cinematographer Joe August), this Western has legendary silent screen star William S. Hart leading a wagon train across the wilderness - and trying to figure out who killed his brother.


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