Wagon Tracks

1919

Western /

0
IMDb Rating 6.9

Synopsis


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1.31G
Normal
/
68 min
P/S 52 / 84
851.94M
Normal
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68 min
P/S 29 / 40

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by boblipton 9

There is a great power in this movie. William S. Hart abandons his familiar cowboy gear to play the role of a Mountain Man guiding a wagon train across the west while trying to discover the truth about his young brother&#39;s murder. If the language veers between the poetic scene-setting titles, and the eye-dialect dialogue, there is great strength in Joseph August&#39;s photography and compositions.<br/><br/>More than that, in the context of the silent film, Hart is a great actor. A stage star, he understood that the camera catches the smallest movement of the eye, His gestures, while melodramatically overwrought, are never overly wide. He infuses the character with truth.<br/><br/>Perhaps this style of movie-making is a mystery to the modern movie-goer. When the shiphands sing &#39;Weep No More, My Lady&#39;, and the titles show the lyrics, they obviously have more importance than sound effects added by a Foley artist for artistic verisimilitude. Perhaps the melodramatic plots are as snicker-worthy as the sort of modern story in which villains commit murder for no discernible reason, but because they are crazed mass murderers, and the enforcers of the law catch them, not because it is their job, but because one of the victims is a relative and &#39;this time it&#39;s personal&#39; ... but I don&#39;t think so.<br/><br/>Both sorts of story are mythic in structure, telling us the truths we want to hear. It may well be that the modern movie-goer will have no patience for Hart&#39;s movies in general and WAGON TRACKS in particular. If that is the case, alas, they are missing a fine story, beautifully told, with striking black and white photography. Their loss.

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Reviewed by dglink 7

A tidy western from the early days of silent films, &quot;Wagon Tracks&quot; stars William S. Hart as a buckskin-clad scout for a wagon train crossing the plains to Santa Fe. As Buckskin Hamilton, Hart pursues the truth behind the shooting death of his younger brother on a Mississippi river boat. Conveniently, the suspects and witnesses to the killing are traveling with Hamilton on the same wagon train. The plot is simplistic, the inter-titles border on florid, and the villain wears black and sports a dark mustache.<br/><br/>Made before the heights of silent film-making in the mid-1920&#39;s, &quot;Wagon Tracks&quot; is close to what many consider a typical silent film. The interior backdrops appear fake and flimsy, the acting is at times over-wrought, men are men, and women are, well, the weaker sex. Despite the age-related flaws, the nearly century-old film is worthwhile for many reasons. Among them, fine location photography, appropriate tinting to reflect time of day, and a formidable silent western star, William S. Hart. While not matinée-idol handsome, Hart was the epitome of the strong silent type, who preferred his horse over women, and, as Hamilton, his performance is not above showing emotion or nuance. Robert McKim is an appropriately dastardly villain, Lloyd Bacon is a weakling accomplice, and Jane Novak the easily manipulated female lead.<br/><br/>While &quot;Wagon Tracks&quot; is not a film to introduce silent movies to a new audience, this short western with a legendary star is a good follow-up for those who have sampled silent cinema and want to explore more films of the pre-sound era.

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