Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Tumbleweeds
Any time I watch a silent movie, it takes me a little while to adjust to it, but once I do, I nearly always enjoy it. TUMBLEWEEDS, from 1925, is William S. Hart's magnum opus, a big sprawling epic of the Oklahoma Land Rush in 1889. There's some great stunt work in it, and it's worth watching for that alone. The whole movie is available on YouTube.
When TUMBLEWEEDS was reissued in 1939, it included an eight-minute sound prologue of Hart talking about the making of the film and then bidding farewell to his viewers. Is it hokey and melodramatic, as you might expect from a silent film star? Absolutely. Does it work? Well, when Hart is almost overcome by emotion near the end, I get a little misty-eyed myself, and I've seen it many times. Such sincerity is a nice respite from modern-day irony and cynicism.