HELL’S HINGES (1916)

   William S. Hart, Charles Swickard (director)
   Usually seen as Hart’s most complex film, Hell’s Hingesfollows the standard Hart formula of a bad man being redeemed by a virtuous woman. The story follows a preacher of weak character sent West with his sister to Hell’s Hinges, a town desperately in need of saving. Blaze Tracy (Hart) leads the bad element of the town in making life miserable for the preacher and his new church. The preacher succumbs to every temptation, but his sister, Faith (Clara Williams), persists in the vision to establish the church. In the end, as the purifying flames destroy Hell’s Hinges, Blaze and Faith ride away to another day. The film, then, is a “fable of redemption through immersion in the wilderness that lies at the heart of the Myth of the Frontier” (Slotkin 1992, 246).

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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