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2 movies two reviews. the silent man 47 minutes. This one more or less follows the expectations , but In the days of politicaly what now? you never know what to expect. a couple of unconventional ways to get to the predictable, but by no means a gaurenteed ending. The first time I saw a WS Hart movie I thought it was a fluke such a good movie could exist so far back. But I'm starting to be a big fan of this Silent star. This movie is probably a four star. One thing I noticed in both films is the exposure and black and white balance is consistently great. and the music is not distracting, probably closer to a more realistic silent movie movie house..when sometimes on these silent movie discs music can not only be distracting and inconsistent with the mood of the movie but even lousy...to the point you have to turn the music waaay down. Not here. Blue Blazes Rawden 51 minutes. maybe even 6 stars. Again good mood music, and nice quality filming..even lighting, and some great scenes or scenery for a black and white. and the movie was amazing. Far beyond the norm for the period. and twists I couldn't predict. I admit I didn't quite get the ending though I think I do now. I've now seen three WS Hart westerns (though this is not so much a western as a Canadian woodsman story) and they are all excelent and you just never know where the movie is going to take you. This one had me thinking about for an hour afterwards. and I darn near cried, though i don't know why. Two great movies two classic silents, and a great bargain all on one DVD. If you doubt a silent film can be a good show, I dare you to say that after seeing some of this guy's work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Long Overdue HartJune 24 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This DVD release contains 2 of Hart's films -One as a lumberjack and the other as his usual cowboy character. Each film runs just under one hour and both are basically fair films- nothing spectacular. The print quality for each film are quite good with suitable piano score backing. It's about time some of William S. Harts films became available on DVD rather than being locked up in some film archives around the world. Thanks Alpha video for this release , hopefully more will follow soon.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The "Good Bad Man" rides again!!!July 7 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
"The Silent Man" is Bill Hart at his best. He created the persona of the "good bad man" and at the time it was new and exciting. Reviewers at the time couldn't find fault with any of his films, even the ones that were not quite up to the mark ("Blue Blazes Rawden" was not a great movie - it was not set in the West but in the North country, where Hart played a wild lumber-jack, finally redeemed through the kindness of the mother of the man he killed). "The Silent Man" was more like it. The beautiful ornate titles and the wonderful Western scenery make this a great introduction to William S. Hart. He plays "Silent" Bill Marr, who discovers gold but then has his claim stolen by "Handsome" Jack Pressley (Robert McKim was a staple of Hart's westerns. Throw in a pretty girl (Vola Vale was considered one of the great beauties of the day), a hero worshipping kid brother and a priest that is building a new church and you have a typical Hart Western. I would highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The all-too-human heroJune 5 2011
Annie Van Auken
- Published on Amazon.com
Pennsylvania-based ALPHA VIDEO is owned by Jerry Greene, founder of Collectable Records. Quality of their unrestored movie transfers varies from fair to good, based on condition of source material stock. The only extras provided are a catalog insert and DVD-accessible title list.
Their dubs of THE SILENT MAN and BLUE BLAZES RAWDEN are quite good, with one important exception. Both title card sequences are freeze-framed and a ghostly ALPHA watermark appears at lower right screen. Also, the first few intertitles in each photoplay are again obviously still-frames.
A pleasing piano track is provided. The musician may not have been overly-familiar with these films while dubbing the audio. There's none of the usual flourishes and crescendi during sudden action. The music is mostly original with some familiar classical themes mixed in.
Mr. Hart, he of the distinctive long face, plays a flawed individual in both, in fact, his character in "Rawden" is a rather villainous sort.
'Blue Blazes' is a lumberjack come to town to spend some hard-earned cash. He gets involved in a poker game that goes wrong, and makes a move on a saloon-owner's woman right while the man is there watching. The proprietor, 'Ladyfingers' Hilgard, is no angel either. These two stags immediately lock horns in a one-on-one brawl that leaves Hilgard dead and Rawden with control of the town and gorgeous Babette DuFresne all his own. Then Ladyfingers' mom and kid brother arrive from England and again Blue Blazes shows a lack of character by deceiving them on how Hilgard perished. That he tries to redeem the dead man's reputation for their peace of mind doesn't fully absolve Rawden of his sins. The story has an unusually bleak ending.
In the first picture, "Silent Man" Bud Barr is a prospector who has his claim on a rich vein of gold stolen by a corrupt saloon owner and bigamist who marries women just to enslave them at his watering hole. Barr responds to having his claim jumped by robbing a stagecoach transporting purloined gold dust. (What's that old saying about "two wrongs"?) But at least this time, Barr was an innocent man wronged, and the bad guys get theirs in the end.
Judging solely from these two works, in director/star Bill Hart's West, men didn't wear white or black hats, but different shades of gray. Editorializing aside, both movies are entertaining, far better than a good percentage of western programmers of 15 or 20 years later, and he is a most watchable lead.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll ratings.
(6.3) The Silent Man (silent-1917) - William S. Hart/Vola Vale/Robert McKim/Dorcas Matthews/J.P. Lockney/George Nichols/Gertrude Claire/Milton Ross/Harold Goodwin
(6.4) Blue Blazes Rawden (silent-1918) William S. Hart/Maudie George/Robert McKim/Gertrude Claire/Robert Gordon/Jack Hoxie
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Two fine Hart westernsMay 12 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Hart is an acquired taste.Many of his films have the same basic structure, a bad man reformed, generally through the love of a good woman, but within what seems a very stereotyped Victorian framework, Hart is able to work many variations, as evidenced by this pair of films. In the first, he is already a good but reticent man who is forced outside of the law by circumstances; in the second he unusually plays a demonstrative French trapper who is by nature larger than life and does everything to excess. Responsible for a man's death, he is forced to confront the grieving mother, and his own nature. Both films are graced by evocative and picturesque outdoor photography, his usual seemingly realistic portrayal of frontier life, and staunch support from what was almost his stock company of support players, including Robert McKim, as different in the two films as the antagonist as Hart is as the nominal hero. The prints are as good as one can expect, and the chosen music generally fits well. As is often the case with Hart, the title cards are both visually and linguistically evocative and memorable, poetically florid perhaps, but very fine nevertheless. The title, "Blue Blazes Rawden", refers to the hero's colourful expletives as someone in the continuous company only of men. The disc is a good introduction to Hart, and well worth the money.