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Reverend Robert Henley and his sister Faith arrive in the lawless frontier town of Hell's Hinges, intent on reforming its amoral citizens. Local saloon keeper and deep-dyed villain Silk Miller, realizing that a temperate populace would be bad for business, discredits the preacher by ordering a dancehall girl to seduce and denounce him. But Miller hasn't reckoned on interference from his former accomplice, notorious gunfighter Blaze Tracy, who has fallen in love with Faith and becomes an avenging angel on her behalf. By 1916, former stage actor Hart was already established as a Western star, but the unexpected box-office success of Hell's Hinges took his career to another level. Although he had portrayed reformed outlaws before, something about Blaze Tracy resonated powerfully with moviegoers - so much so that he would play variations of the character in most of his subsequent films. But Hart's performance wasn't the only exemplary thing about Hell's Hinges: C. Gardner Sullivan's story brought Biblical allusion to sagebrush sagas, and its apocalyptic, fire-and-brimstone climax rocked audiences accustomed to tamer resolutions in Westerns.

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ALP6417 Hell's Hinges DVD (1916/William S Hart) $5.99