Saddle up as our Westerns series continues, including a terrific silent film this Saturday starring William S. Hart, cinema’s first major cowboy star.
Thursday, June 19 (7:30 p.m.)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros., 2007, R-rated*)
Robert Ford, an eager recruit into the notorious James-Younger Gang, comes to grow jealous of the famous outlaw Jesse James and, with the help of his brother Charley, plots to kill him. Brad Pitt stars as James and Casey Affleck was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Robert Ford. Andrew Dominik wrote and directed this adaptation of Ron Hansen’s 1983 novel of the same name. The Western also features Sam Shepard as Frank James and Sam Rockwell as Charley Ford. Roger Deakins’ cinematography also received an Academy Award nomination.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, June 20 (7:30 p.m.) Budd Boetticher-Randolph Scott Western Double Feature
The Tall T (Columbia, 1957)
A ruthless bandit and his henchmen hold a group of stagecoach passengers hostage while ranch hand Randolph Scott negotiates to keep his fellow captives alive. The film also stars Richard Boone, Arthur Hunnicutt and Maureen O’Sullivan. Budd Boetticher directed this suspenseful Western based on a story by Elmore Leonard. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 2000.
Ride Lonesome (Columbia, 1959)
Randolph Scott stars as bounty hunter Ben Brigade, who captures wanted murderer Billy John and heads for Santa Cruz to turn him in. At a way station, two outlaws and the station master’s wife join Brigade on his ride. To reach town alive, they’ll have to evade Indians and Billy John’s vengeful brother. Budd Boetticher directed this portrayal of life in the desolate and lonesome Old West, which also stars James Best, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, Karen Steele and James Coburn in his film debut.
Saturday, June 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Wagon Tracks (Famous Players-Lasky, 1919)
William S. Hart helped define the Western genre as early as 1914 and became one of its first great stars. His films were known for being authentic and realistic, and relied more on character development than action. In Wagon Tracks, he plays Buckskin Hamilton, a desert guide for a wagon train crossing the wasteland. While caring for the pioneers he escorts, Buckskin tries to solve the murder of his brother by one of the travelers. Directed by Lambert Hillyer and produced by Thomas Ince and Hart, the film also stars Robert McKim, Lloyd Bacon and Jane Novak. Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.