Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews. For more of my movie reviews, click here to follow me on Letterboxd.


Week 193: Hell’s Hinges (1916)


The story of Hell’s Hinges is a little too holy for my tastes but the artistry behind this early Western is beyond impressive.

From the images of religious reverie to the most precise use of William S. Hart’s close-ups, it is created with masterful hands. Is there a performer today like William S. Hart? When fantasizing about remaking this, I couldn’t think of a single actor who does what he can in a tight shot without moving his face at all. The depth of feeling in his stoic characters is truly one-of-a-kind.

Like I said, the story is a little too church-minded for me, at least for the first forty minutes of the picture. And then the final third comes and things get wild. Some of the scenes near the end of this picture are a must see for fans of the genre and filmmakers: a chaotic mass shooting in the street, the destruction of an entire town, and a showdown in which our hero faces off single-handedly against twenty or more outlaws (could you really see Kevin Costner or Kurt Russell pulling off a scene like this?).

The finale and conclusion of Hell’s Hinges are what makes the picture unforgettable.

Watched on rarefilmm.com