Lambert Hillyer

Sog.: da un racconto di May Wilmoth e Olin Lyman; Scen.: Lambert Hillyer; F.: Joe August; Scgf.: J.C. Hoffner; Tit.: Harry Barndollar; Int.: William S. Hart (Robert Evans), Myrtle Stedman (Mrs. Chapple), Frank Brownlee (Henry Chapple), Georgie Stone (George Chapple), Will Jim Hatton (Danny Evans), Richard Headrick (Baby Chapple), Robert Kortman (Scardon); Prod.: William S. Hart Company; Dist.: Paramount-Artcraft 35mm. L.o.: 1633 m. L.: 1377 m. D.: 60’ a 20 f/s. Bn.


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Hart was completely identified with Western roles in the minds of his fans (and employers), but like any actor he sought to demonstrate his dramatic range by taking on something new. He recalled with pride his days as a touring actor in stage repertory, and in the early 1920s began developing a script on the life of American patriot Patrick Henry, whose defiant cry of “Give me liberty or give me death” reflected his own style of Americanism. Lasky would never film it, but Hart published an adaptation as a novel in 1923. Instead he made The Whistle, where he appeared as a mill worker struggling to maintain family ties in an increasingly industrialized America. The plot seems grounded in 19th century protest melodrama, and the attention it draws to child labor and worker safety issues had already gone out of fashion on screen by the end of the Progressive Era (although, according to Robert E. Sherwood, the film was still “cut to pieces” because of this by the Pennsylvania censor). But Hart was attracted to this story of an increasingly mechanized craft now under the control of selfish ingrates. And the Hart character’s need of a son (there is no love interest for him in this film) also suggests a personal longing for family life that had become increasingly frustrating. Hart idealized the women who appeared in his films, and over the years had proposed to many of them, including Margery Wilson, Katherine MacDonald, and both Novak sisters. He was finally accepted by Winifred Westover (co-star of John Petticoats [1919]), but they separated within a few months, even before the birth of his only child, William S. Hart, Jr., in September 1922. The bitterness and recrimination resulting from this failed marriage would dog Hart even after his death, when his son vigorously contested Hart’s donation of his estate to the people of Los Angeles.

Richard e Diane Koszarski


Copy From

Preserved in 1975 from a nitrate positive at the AFI/Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Collection