Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews. For more of my movie reviews, click here to follow me on Letterboxd.
Week 196: Fighting Blood (1911)
D.W. Griffith’s short Western, clocking in at only 11 minutes, is more successful than any 11 minutes of his Western feature, SCARLET DAYS, which I watched last week. And it’s an overall better film, though a simplistic one.
In the short runtime, Griffith establishes a pioneer family with a Civil War veteran at its head and a rebellious teenager in its ranks. However, he doesn’t spend much time on characterization and before long, a Native American tribe is raiding the family’s cabin. The action is the star here, as it is in many of these early films, where they had less restrictions for blanks and horses and had to do it all in camera. The images of gun barrels exploding left and right and spaces filling with the smoke from each blast is truly something to behold. The feeling of chaos is remarkable.
What FIGHTING BLOOD lacks is any sense of tragedy and danger to its characters. It reminds me of modern action movies where superheroes, with or without capes, destroy their enemies by the hundreds without any real threat to themselves. As Howard Hawks said, “There’s only action if there’s danger,” and there isn’t much here.
Watched on YouTube