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LGM Film Club, Part 123: Hell’s Hinges

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Since we published the westerns podcast earlier today, let’s close out the day with one of the films I discussed in it. This is the astounding 1916 western Hell’s Hinges with William S. Hart. Probably the first full-on anti-western, it is about a preacher who has no business being preacher, his saintly sister, and a mean bad cowboy who sees the light thanks to her. If the first half hour of this seems dripping with Victorian sentiment, the second half, well…let’s just say there’s an awful lot of burning. Both the portrayal of the minister and the aftermath would simply not be allowed post-code. This excellent National Film Preservation Foundation essay on it compares it to High Plains Drifter and Unforgiven and I’d agree, though I’d say it’s a better film than the former. However, it is also pretty comparable to High Plains Drifter. If you liked Eastwood painting the old time red–especially the church–you will like this. As always with a silent, listen to whatever makes you happy over the top of it.

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