Wolf Lowry


Action / Western

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

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482.11 MB
No linguistic content 2.0
24 fps
12 hr 52 min
P/S ...
895.04 MB
No linguistic content 2.0
24 fps
12 hr 52 min
P/S 2 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by boblipton6 / 10

A Comedy, Until The Conflict

William S. Hart is a fun-loving ranch owner. He rolls cigarettes like Roscoe Arbuckle and takes part in the daily lynching of the Chinese cook. One pleasure he reserves to himself is running nesters off his range. After he amiably threatens one, the fellow ups and sells his land to Margery Wilson. When Hart returns to the farm, he is dumbfounded by the new owner and gradually wins her to be his bride. When William Fairbanks shows up, Hart is delighted. He thinks Fairbanks is Miss Wilson's half brother. In truth, they are lovers; she thought him dead. They plan to run off before the wedding.

Hart plays with his themes of the good bad man, and tries a few gags, but of course, he is primarily a dramatic actor, and while he may act goofy or malevolent as the situation calls for, they audience is busy waiting for his redemption. It's not among his best movies, but it's always satisfying to see a Hart film that's new to me.

Reviewed by Cineanalyst6 / 10

The Wolfman Howls

I wanted to see this after a master class by composer Neil Brand for the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, where he demonstrated improvising musical scores to silent films by playing "Wolf Lowry" on his laptop while playing the piano. Not only an enlightening experience as to how piano scores are made today for these ancient titles, but it was also apparent that to do the job as well as Brand, one needs a deep understanding of silent cinema--even if it's something as simple as recognizing, so as to cue the appropriate music, that a well-dressed character with a mustache is probably the baddie in a William S. Hart vehicle. My only complaint was that he didn't finish the movie, but I've since been able to resolve that dilemma, from the restoration that was screened at the Bonn Silent Film Festival.

It's a typical Hart Western, wherein he plays the good bad man whose regeneration is found in his love of an ideal woman. It's not overtly Christian as with some of the others (although she is referred to as his "idol" at one point),and this is one of his more self-sacrificing roles. The love triangles also make it, perhaps, a bit more melodramatic, as well. Although it's not up to the standards of his best work--say, "Hell's Hinges" (1916),"The Narrow Trail" (1917),"Wagon Tracks" (1919)--just to see one of the most expressive faces in cinematic history at work, I could easily watch a dozen of his routine photoplays. Heck, I already have and likely will do so again.

The biggest drawback, as with many of these old films, is that even when they do feature racial minorities, it tends to be stereotypical and offensive. This one features Chinese characters in minor roles, the first instance of which is an awful gag involving a gang of white cowboys pretending that they're going to lynch a Chinese man for stealing chickens. Later, Hart's character casually threatens one that if he tries to cheat him that, "I'll drag you across my range by the ears!" In the master class, Brand demonstrated how he took the right approach in scoring today a film from yesteryear by not meeting the mock lynching scene on its own terms as a joke. Indeed, such is part of film history and shouldn't be hidden, but one needn't play along.

Of course, the best part of "Wolf Lowry" is the actor, Hart, portraying the eponymous character. Besides his facial expressions, he exploits his imposing stature to make fun of Lowry's awkwardness around a lady--pouring most of a bag of sugar into his tea in one scene and tripping over a bucket of water in another. The film gets thematically dark by the final act, too. Early on, Wolf saves the woman, Mary, from an attempted rape and would've killed the attacker had it not been for her intervention. As disturbing as this early encounter is to their eventual engagement, it turns out that Mary is afraid, as well as that of her attacker's, Wolf's violent streak. All of which makes for a bit more nuance than may be found in some more simplistic melodramatic fare from the silent era or movie history in general. The ending is especially well done, including a bride and groom whose lack of apparent enjoyment for a while reminds me of the ending of "The Graduate" (1967). Plus, this is one of those short, quickly--arguably too quickly--cut little features from the era that's a breeze to get through.

Additionally, although Mary, as the supporting love interest for the star, Hart, is a fairly standard and thankless role, except perhaps for her representation of a battered woman and her aforementioned abhorrence of violent men, the actress who played her, Margery Wilson, was more interestingly an early female director, as well as a writer, if only briefly during the early 1920s. Unfortunately, none of the films she directed are known to survive.

(Note: Film reconstruction from a 28mm Pathéscope safety print and two incomplete 35mm nitrate prints from the Library of Congress, with recreated tinting.)

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