Castro Theatre Sat, May 4, 2019 12:00 PM
Film Info
Director:John Ford
Cast:Harry Carey
Duke Lee
Neva Gerber
Vester Pegg
Total Run Time:75 min.


Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli
With John Ford as director and Harry Carey as star, westerns were never going to be the same again. Paired at Universal to churn out programmers in order to fill up the matinees Ford and Carey perfected the genre in twenty-six films that usually feature a good-bad man named Cheyenne Harry who rides to the rescue even if only because it’s the right thing to do. In Hell Bent Carey is a card sharp whose better nature pits him against a greedy gang in order to save a sweet-faced girl from an ignominious fate. Fordian touches include a fire-lit powwow of cowboy-hatted bandits and a climactic trek across a pitiless desert. In addition to the fast-paced horse-opera action and injections of bromance humor, an innovative framing device begins the film with a publisher complaining to a dime-novel writer that his characters are too pure to be believable. The writer looks to a Frederick Remington painting hanging on his wall for inspiration and it comes alive in the Old West. (53 min)

With short: BROWNIE'S LITTLE VENUS (1921, 22 min, 35mm), starring Baby Peggy and Brownie the Wonder Dog

Hell Bent restoration by Universal Pictures. Brownie's Little Venus 35mm restored print courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive


Introduction by Cassandra Wiltshire

Underwritten by Universal Pictures

Copresented by California Film Institute and Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Additional Information

Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli

Philip Carli brings both prodigious musical talent and a committed scholarly outlook to his lifelong passion for the music and culture of the turn of the last century. He discovered silent film at the age of five and began his accompaniment career at thirteen, with a performance for Lon Chaney’s 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While at college he programmed and accompanied an annual series of silent films, and also organized and conducted a 50-piece student orchestra using 19th-century performance practice. Since then, he has continued his studies of the film, music and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, earning a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has at the same time toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe, performing on keyboard and with orchestra at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is the staff accompanist for the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and performs annually at several film festivals in the United States as well as at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy.