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    Description

    The Desert Man (Triangle, 1917). One Sheet (28" X 41").
    Born in 1864, William Surrey Hart was a well-regarded Shakespearean actor on Broadway before giving up the gaslight and greasepaint for cameras and cowboys in Hollywood. More than forty years old before he made his first film, the 1907 version of Ben-Hur in which he played Messala, Hart's motion picture career began in earnest several years later. After only a handful of well-received films, the classically-trained actor achieved super-stardom in The Bargain (1914), which featured his first starring role. Hart quickly became one of the leading stars of the silent screen, specializing in Westerns. Where others, like Tom Mix, tended to flashier portrayals, Hart preferred his pictures to be as realistic as possible, an authenticity that extended not only to the stories themselves, but to the costumes and props as well. Also, Hart professed a strong code of personal ethics that carried over from his films to his personal life. His insistence on historical accuracy over action, however, coupled with an air of grim morality, eventually proved to be Hart's downfall; although he was one of the earliest proponents of feature length films, and one of the highest paid actors in the field for a time - he received $150,000 in 1917 for The Narrow Trail, for example - he couldn't - or wouldn't - make the kinds of pictures that the public increasingly wanted to see - pictures loaded with action and stars that were matinee idols rather than real examples of frontier pioneers - and retired to his ranch in Newhall, California, after making Tumbleweeds in 1925. In a touching prologue, filmed for the sound re-release of Tumbleweeds in 1939, Hart, then 75 years old, delivered a heartfelt farewell to his legion of fans, fondly recalling his days of glory as America's favorite cowboy. A Heritage first, this stone litho one sheet is from a movie produced at the height of Hart's fame. As Jim, a good-hearted prospector who eventually saves not only the tragically fallen dancehall girl Jennie (Margery Wilson), but also the entire town of Broken Hope from despair and destruction, Hart is at his very best. Not only is he the hero, he is also the moral center of the film's universe. It's easy to see how Hart so quickly became the idol of moviegoing audiences worldwide. This exceedingly rare poster is in remarkable condition, showing only a couple of small fold separations and edge tears. Folded, Very Fine.


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    July, 2016
    30th-31st Saturday-Sunday
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