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On Location in Silent Cinema

Thursday, February 21, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Bargain
Reginald Barker (U.S., 1914)

Restored 35mm print!
Introduction/Scott Simmon
Live Music/Frederick Hodges on piano


Scott Simmon, chair of the English Department at UC Davis, is author of The Invention of the Western Film and curator of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s forty-film DVD set Treasures 5: The West, 1898–1938. Pianist Frederick Hodges performs regularly at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

We present the West Coast premiere of the Library of Congress’s 35mm restoration of this deeply unconventional five-reel border-town Western, previously available only in dim 16mm prints. For William S. Hart’s first feature, producer Thomas Ince sprung for Grand Canyon location shooting. At age fifty, Hart’s chiseled face and lanky frame match the unforgiving land, and the twists from his outlaw character remain unpredictable. For the New York Dramatic Mirror, The Bargain was “a model of what can be accomplished,” while Moving Picture World fretted, “There can be no doubt that a picture of this kind has a bad influence on youthful minds.”

• Written by William H. Clifford, Thomas H. Ince, William S. Hart. Photographed by Joe August, Robert Newhard. With William S. Hart, J. Frank Burke, Clara Williams. (c. 70 mins, Silent with English intertitles, B&W, 35mm, From Library of Congress)

Preceded by:
Sierra Jim’s Reformation (U.S., John B. O’Brien, 1914). Before his half-century directorial career, a darkly dashing Raoul Walsh took the title role in this Sierra Nevada one-reeler, playing another of 1914’s redeemable “hunted outlaws.” (13 mins, Silent with English intertitles, B&W, 35mm, Print courtesy of George Eastman House).

Total running time: 83 mins