Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Whistle - 1921


Country: USA
Director: Lambert Hillyer
Writers: May Wilmoth (story), Olin Lyman (story) and Lambert Hillyer (scenario)
Stars: William S. Hart, Frank Brownlee and Myrtle Stedman
Release Date: April 1921 (USA)
Production Co: William S. Hart Productions
Runtime: 70 min
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Accident | Revenge | 1910s | Milk Bottle | Father Son Relationship  | Factory | Worker | Birthday Cake | Pipe Smoking | Factory Whistle | Whistle | Male Female Relationship | Millionaire | Birthday | Factory Owner | Mother Son Relationship |
Child Labor | New England | Kitchen | Negligence | Death Of Mother | Death Of Son
Genres: Drama | Romance
Taglines: I did it to avenge the death of my son Danny (original lobby card) 
Robert must avenge his son who was killed in a workplace accident.
Laborer William S. Hart (as Robert Evans) lives in the New England town of Chappleville, which is owned and operated by his wealthy boss, Frank Brownlee (as Henry Chapple). Mr. Hart lives with his adolescent son, Will Jim Hatton (as Danny Evans); "Mrs. Evans" having died during childbirth. Mr. Brownlee lives with wife Myrtle Stedman (as Mrs. Chapple) and baby Richard Headrick; later, baby grows into boy Georgie Stone. Hart regular Bob Kortman (as Scardon) has a pivotal role.
Hart and company make a bold statement picture, which is also shamelessly emotional entertainment; and, the star is so effective in the "non-western" lead role, it's a shame he saddled up so much more than not. Hart and Hatton are so convincing as father and son, you can't help but sympathize with Hart. His face shows his son's soul being ripped from Hart, after his gut-wrenching workplace incident. Hart conscientiously carries the remainder of the film well; but, given the melodramatics, the ending is unnecessarily a downer for one cast member.

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