Straight Shooting (1917)

“The ranchers’ empire, a vast grazing land — a once endless territory now divided and cut by farmers’ fences.”

Synopsis:
A cattle baron (Duke R. Lee) hires a gunslinger (Harry Carey) to kill a farmer (George Berrell) whose land is encroaching on his territory — but when he learns that Berrell’s son (Ted Brooks) has already been killed, and sees the grief this has caused Berrell’s beautiful daughter (Molly Malone), he quickly shifts allegiances.

Genres:

Review:
Notable as “Jack” (John) Ford’s first surviving full-length film, this early western — featuring silent-era superstar Harry Carey — shows clear evidence of Ford’s directorial vision (at the tender age of 22!). He manages to turn an overly simplistic story about feuding between ranchers and farmers (along with a “bad-boy-turned-good” narrative twist, and a brief love triangle) into a reasonably entertaining outing — though in its hour-long running time, there’s not really much to sink one’s teeth into. Certainly worth a look, but not essential viewing for anyone other than diehard Ford fans and/or early-cinema buffs — though one could argue it’s “must-see” simply to see Carey in a flick.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Early evidence of Ford’s directorial vision



Must See?
No, though it will certainly be of interest to Ford fans and/or those interested in early cinematic history.

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One Response to “Straight Shooting (1917)”

  1. A once-must, for its place in cinema history. First viewing.

    I wasn’t expecting much from this. But for a film just shy of being 100 years old (!), it has surprising energy and Ford’s directorial/visual sense is confident. Yes, it is a slight tale but it is well told (it’s edited especially well) and it easily holds interest. Ford knew quite well what he was doing, early on!

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