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Tumbleweeds

Overview

King Baggott's Tumbleweeds (1925), starring and produced by William S. Hart, was one of the great westerns of the silent era, and remains one the most exciting and fascinating silent movies ever made -- beyond its dramatic and visual splendors, which are many, Hart was the real article when it came to the west, and his love and passion for the region where he spent his youth comes through in every frame of this film. Tumbleweeds appeared on laserdisc in a lackluster edition from Republic Pictures during the early...
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Overview

King Baggott's Tumbleweeds (1925), starring and produced by William S. Hart, was one of the great westerns of the silent era, and remains one the most exciting and fascinating silent movies ever made -- beyond its dramatic and visual splendors, which are many, Hart was the real article when it came to the west, and his love and passion for the region where he spent his youth comes through in every frame of this film. Tumbleweeds appeared on laserdisc in a lackluster edition from Republic Pictures during the early 1990's, but has been unavailable on DVD until now, with this Image Entertainment release. All extant versions of Tumbleweeds seem to come from the same restoration by Karl Kalmanes, officially part of the Paul Killiam Collection and based on the 1939 reissue of the movie. This includes the sound introduction featuring Hart, who addresses the audience, giving an account of the movie's plot and background, and then makes a poignant farewell to the screen. The film-to-video transfer on the DVD is far sharper than the laserdisc version, revealing infinitely greater detail, in addition to being much more subtle in its tones and contrasts -- indeed, much of the movie looks like documentarian photos of the old west come-to-life (and that goes double for any shots of Hart on horseback), the tinting very carefully balanced and extremely subtle. William Perry's piano score, a stirring and memorable body of music, is also realized on this transfer with far greater richness than the old laserdisc edition and, in contrast to many DVD's, is also mastered at a good volume level. Image has given the 86 minute movie 18 chapters, which is just about right in terms of dividing up the significant plot elements, which involve romance, revenge, a cattle-drive, an attempted land swindle, and a land-rush with thousands of settlers. At $30 list, it's also somewhat cheaper (as well as significantly better) than the laser version or any prior video edition, and a bargain for western and silent movie fans alike.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
This is William S. Hart's final contribution to the Western genre he had helped define a decade earlier. Hart plays a "tumbleweed," one of the last of the roaming cowboys whose way of life is about to disappear with the arrival of empire building settlers. It is mere days before the legendary Oklahoma land rush, when the fertile Cherokee Strip will be taken over by farmers and shop keepers. Later, due to his infatuation with lovely Barbara Bedford, Hart is more than ready to stake his claim, both for the land and the lady. Despite the potential inherit in the material, Tumbleweeds is not the epic story telling of empire building Hart may have envisioned. Nevertheless, Hart's version of the land rush, some of it filmed at the Universal back lot, remains second to none in scope and excitement and certainly influenced the many versions to come, including the award-winning Cimarron. Since the director, King Baggot, never did anything like this, before or after, the credit most likely belongs with Hart himself. As always, Hart goes for realism in both setting and characterization. His aging cowpoke is no one-dimensional hero and is not above breaking the law to get what he wants. The supporting cast is equally well appointed, with Lucien Littlefield solid as the comic sidekick, Richard R. Neill and J. Gordon Russell properly menacing as the villainous "sooners," and Barbara Bedford, mature and beautiful, as the heroine. Tumbleweeds failed to deliver the hoped-for business and Hart, distressed at having to compete with showmen like Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson, chose to retire. He was back on the screen in a filmed prologue to the 1939 re-release of Tumbleweeds, however, proving perhaps only that talkies were not this rather bombastic Victorian stage actor's true m├ętier.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2002
  • UPC: 014381158021
  • Original Release: 1925
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: silent, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Time: 1:26:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William S. Hart Don Carver
Barbara Bedford Molly Lassiter
Lucien Littlefield "Kentucky Rose"
Gordon Russell Noll Lassiter
Richard R. Neill Bill Freel
Jack Murphy Bart Lassiter
Lillian Leighton Mrs. Riley
Turner Savage Riley Boy
James Gordon Joe Hinman
King Baggot
Gertrude Claire Old Woman
Monte Collins Hick
T.E. Duncan Major of Cavalry
Fred Gamble Hotel Proprietor
George F. Marion Old Man
Technical Credits
King Baggot Director
James Bagle Director
William S. Hart Director, Producer
Joseph H. August Cinematographer
C. Gardner Sullivan Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. William S. Hart Introduction [8:10]
2. Main Title [1:06]
3. Just Another Tumbleweed [4:44]
4. Cow Town, Population: 200 [4:10]
5. The Last of the West [2:11]
6. The Little Town of Caldwell [5:07]
7. Stakin' a Claim [11:07]
8. Eager Anticipation [8:08]
9. Courting Miss Molly [2:29]
10. A Set-Up [3:19]
11. The Prairie Night [3:18]
12. Wrongfully Accused [5:47]
13. The Day [5:09]
14. The Maddest Stampede in American History [6:24]
15. Losing Miss Molly [4:22]
16. Keeping the Peace [7:12]
17. Carver Vindicated [2:06]
18. End Credits [:36]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Scene Selections
   Feature Start
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