It. tit.: L’uomo segreto; Sog.: George Hively; Scen.: George Hively; F.: Ben Reynolds; Int.: Harry Carey (Cheyenne Harry), Morris Foster (Beauford), Elizabeth Jones (her daughter), Vester Pegg (sheriff), Elizabeth Sterling (Molly), Bill Gettinger (supervisor), Steve Clemente (Pedro); Prod.: Butterfly-Universal; Pri. pro.: 1 ottobre 1917. 35mm. L. or.: 5 bobine. L: 376 m. (bobine 2 e 4) D.: 14’ a 20 f/s. Bn.
A surviving fragment of Ford’s second feature with Harry Carey, The Secret Man has a title that points forward to The Quiet Man, suggesting the hidden depths that Ford was already exploring in his enigmatic heroes. This visually-spacious footage, displaying Ford’s already-ripened gift for composition, offers tantalizing glimpses of a plot that anticipates Ford’s own favorite of his silent films, the lost 1919 Carey feature Marked Men, a version of Peter B. Kyne’s novella The Three Godfathers, later filmed by Ford as the 1948 Technicolor Western 3 Godfathers, starring John Wayne. In The Secret Man, Carey plays an outlaw, one of Ford’s cherished “good bad men,” who finds a little girl (Elizabeth Jones) dying of thirst after a stagecoach accident. Cheyenne Harry rescues the child, even though he knows that doing so will cost him his freedom.
“ […] a generous lot of picturesque scenes, flooded with California sunshine […] ” “Moving Picture World”, 1917