Eagle's Nest (1915)

Genres - Western  |  
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This Western melodrama ran eight reels -- which, in silent cinema of the 1910s, meant it ran somewhere around two hours or so in length, depending on how fast the film was being run through the projector. That was quite long in the days where three reels seemed to be the most common length, and two to four reels were considered more than enough to tell most stories. But this tale, based on the stage play by Edwin Arden), used its length effectively and the pacing never dragged. Arden played the lead role of Jack Trail on the boards and while he was a bit long in the tooth to portray the young hero on film, he did anyway and depended on skilled camera work to make up for his age. More impressive was the scenery, with many scenes shot in Colorado's famed Garden of the Gods. The plot has the usual Western type of adventures -- pioneers struggle against the forces of nature and Indians to make a home for themselves, the hero battles the villain (in this case played by director Romaine Fielding) and wins the hand of the girl (Rose Milford). With its stunning cinematography, the epic became a minor landmark in silent cinema.