TUMBLEWEEDS 1925 with WILLIAM S. HART 1939 SPOKEN PROLOGUE
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(Jan 18, 2016)
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Directed by and starring William S. Hart; additional direction by King Baggott; taken from the story by Hal G. Evarts. With Barbara Bedford and Lucien Littlefield. "Tumbleweeds" was Hart's last film and it depicts, in exciting fashion, the opening of the Oklahoma Territory. Hart does some of his fastest riding in the scene of the mad race of the homesteaders to claim land in the Cherokee Strip. Includes a thrilling music score with effects and singing cowboys, but the highlight of our version is the eloquent spoken prologue delivered by Hart himself where he speaks about the glories of his career as a western star and describes, in his Shakespearean voice, how "Tumbleweeds" was made. At the end, he bids a moving farewell to his faithful fans.
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THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY is credited as establishing dramatic structure through narrative editing. It was also the first film to employ matted in projection as background, i.e. when we see a moving train through the station's window. The final closeup of a bandit shooting directly at the camera is famous for addressing the viewer as part of the onscreen action - an innovation in itself that brought a new dimension to the cinema.
VCI's 100th Anniversary Edition of THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY is from the Library of Congress' print and is presented twice; first in b&w, totally silent, then with music and enhanced with tints and sound effects. While the best quality is the Museum of Modern Art print available in Kino's outstanding Edison set, the VCI version is pretty nice too and worth picking up, as it contains some rare bonus features. THE HEART OF TEXAS RYAN (1916), is an enjoyable actioner starring legendary cowboy Tom Mix. Another western great, William S. Hart, achieved epic proportions with his last production, TUMBLEWEEDS (1925). The film's depiction of the Cherokee Strip landrush is still regarded as the best sequence of its kind ever made. The master innovator, D.W. Griffith, is also represented with THE BATTLE OF ELDERBRUSH GULCH (1913), a short drama starring Lillian Gish and Mae Marsh.
For anyone who's passionate about film history or the American Western, this DVD is a great assortment of important contributors to the genre.
I knew the old films were done to different standards than today's westerns, these are almost funny with the results they had. I remember "Train Robbery" about the best with it's choppy editing and evident low budget, why was the "restored" version done with some scenes red or some other color? The Tom Mix film to me was most notable for so few horses and a weak plot . The Lillian Gish film had a train car scene where the moving scenery was actually a canvas rolling past the windows, that was the worst of that one. "Tumbleweeds" with William S. Hart is probably the best selection on the DVD for story quality.
Buy it for an interesting look back at the early days of film history.
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TUMBLEWEEDS BY BILL HART FROM 1925. HEAR HART IN TALKING INTRO.
D.W. GRIFFITH'S ELDERBUSH GULCH.Read more