William S. Hart: Projecting the American West

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 269 pages
0 Reviews

Stage actor turned Hollywood star, William S. Hart (1864—1946) was for movie fans a cherished symbol of the romantic Old West. His silent westerns offered excitement, lessons in righteous behavior, and a nostalgic vision of the American frontier. This intriguing biography explores the personal and professional life of Hollywood’s prototypical cowboy hero.

Born in Newburgh, New York, Hart grew up in a Victorian atmosphere that gave rise to the rigid morality prevalent in many of his films. From 1914 to 1924, he appeared in or produced more than sixty movies, but it was not until he abandoned Shakespearean characters for parts in The Squaw Man and The Virginian that Hart truly assumed his western persona.

For the first time, readers are given insights into Hart’s somewhat lonely and tragic personal life, his quarrels with exploitive studios, and his association with such latter-day frontier legends as Charles M. Russell, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp, who regarded him as a kindred spirit. Other highlights of this book include excerpts from his previously unpublished letters to starlet Jane Novak, Hart’s one-time fiancée, as well as numerous photographs from studio and private collections.

Drawing on Hart’s papers, primary sources of the Motion Picture Academy, oral histories, and contemporary newspapers, this chronicle of Hart’s life is the first since his own starry-eyed autobiography, My Life East and West, appeared in 1929.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Struggling Actor
26
Projecting a Western Image
45
Inceville Cowboy
63
Making Movies for Triangle
80
Artcraft Star
113
Artcraft Contract Renewed
134
Romance and Marriage
153
Back to Work
173
Retirement
207
The Final Reel
226
Notes on Sources
241
Index 259
259
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Ronald L. Davis is Professor Emeritus of History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Bibliographic information