Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The quintessential William S. Hart western, Hell's Hinges stars two-gun Bill as gunslinger Blaze Tracy, "a man wholly evil." When a new preacher (Jack Standing) comes to town, Tracy and saloon proprietor Silk Miller (Alfred Hollingsworth) prepare to kick the "sky pilot" out of town. But while the preacher is weak-willed, his pretty sister (Clara Williams) is firm in her religious resolve. For her sake, Tracy decides to leave the preacher alone. From this point on, the film parallels the redemption of Tracy with the degeneration of the preacher, who is seduced by saloon-strumpet Dolly (Louise Glaum). Drunk and delirious, the preacher leads the townsfolk in burning down his own church! He comes to his senses just in time to be killed by Silk Miller, whereupon Blaze Tracy, exacting a near-Biblical retribution, guns down every nasty character within hailing distance and sets fire to the town. As the evil townspeople scurry about in terror, Tracy walks slowly and determinedly through the blazing inferno. His work done, he helps the girl bury her brother and rides off with her to a better life "over the rim". The direction of Hell's Hinges is credited to both William S. Hart and Charles Swickard, but it's easy to see which of the two had the most creative control. The poetic, larger-than-life qualities of the film are superbly complemented by writer C. Gardner Sullivan's florid subtitles. A 2-reel version of Hell's Hinges, retitled The Devil Dodger, was released to TV in the early 1950s as part of the silent-film retrospective series Movie Museum.
bad-guy-turns-good, redemption, church, destruction, fire-disaster, minister, revenge, shoot-out, bad-woman, bar [pub], drunk, love, prostitute/prostitution, romance, seduction, con/scam
High Historical Importance