starring William S. Hart
June, 1918

One celluloidic thing is as inevitable as fates and taxes - that William S. Hart starts each new picture career as a bad man and ends it by being completely reformed. Like the excess tax, it is an excess reformation. We know he is going to reform, so we always make allowances for his deviltries as the picture progresses. What a relief it would be if Hart started out good for a change and ended up on the rocks, or going to the dogs, or out-and-out bad. If the censors don't like this human (altho shocking) relief, a trailer could follow to the effect that Hart isn't such a bad fellow after all, really! "Blue Blazes Rawden" is a custom-made vehicle for the big Westerner. He directs himself, and J.G. Hawks, who tailored so many Hart plays in his Triangle days, has cast him in a new setting, the great Canadian Northwest lumber country.

starring William S. Hart
May, 1918

In "Blue Blazes Rawden," William S. Hart gives the best exhibition of his acting ability that I have ever yet seen. Rawden, a typical Hart terror, kills another "bad man" in a duel. The dead man's mother and young brother arrive, and Rawden befriends them, remaking his life to keep the mother from learning the character of her son. The story has no actual ending. It is something of a "slice of life." Its interest lies in the struggle that goes on in the heart of the naturally ferocious , brutal Rawden, turned gentle by sheer determination. Hart has tended in recent pictures, toward a certain immobility of countenance which is not acting. It may be realism, but it is not adapted to the screen. In "Blue Blazes Rawden," he proves himself an actor of the first rank, for what is acting but the projection of an idea? To my mind, Rawden is the best thing Hart has ever done. Maud George, who has seemed to be waiting for nothing but an opportunity, finds it here in the role of a half-breed girl; passionate and untamable. She is hardly second in interest to the star himself.

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