Hell's Heroes (1930)

65 mins | Western | 5 January 1930

Full page view
HISTORY

A silent version of the film was also released, at a length of 5,836 feet. Peter B. Kyne's story first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on 23 Nov 1912. According to various contemporary sources, the story was based on an earlier Kyne story entitled "Bronco Billy and the Baby," which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1910 and was the basis for a short Essanay film of the same title. Modern sources indicate that the film was shot primarily on location near Mojave, CA. The Three Godfathers novel has been adapted to film several times. For information on other versions, please consult the entry for the 1916 Bluebird film, The Three Godfathers.
       The film print for Hell's Heroes was fully restored by The Film Foundation, an organization founded in 1990 by director Martin ... More Less

A silent version of the film was also released, at a length of 5,836 feet. Peter B. Kyne's story first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on 23 Nov 1912. According to various contemporary sources, the story was based on an earlier Kyne story entitled "Bronco Billy and the Baby," which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1910 and was the basis for a short Essanay film of the same title. Modern sources indicate that the film was shot primarily on location near Mojave, CA. The Three Godfathers novel has been adapted to film several times. For information on other versions, please consult the entry for the 1916 Bluebird film, The Three Godfathers.
       The film print for Hell's Heroes was fully restored by The Film Foundation, an organization founded in 1990 by director Martin Scorsese. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
29 Dec 1929.
---
New York Times
28 Dec 1929
p. 11.
Variety
1 Jan 1930
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Carl Laemmle Special
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt and dial
Supv story chief
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Film ed
MUSIC
Synchronization and score
SOUND
Rec supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Three Godfathers by Peter B. Kyne (New York, 1913).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Silent Night, Holy Night," music by Franz Gruber, lyrics by Joseph Mohr, English lyrics, anonymous
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 January 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 27 December 1929
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 December 1929
Copyright Number:
LP930
Physical Properties:
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Western Electric Equipment
Duration(in mins):
65
Length(in feet):
6,148
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While waiting in the small frontier town of New Jerusalem for his three partners, "Barbwire" Tom Gibbons, "Wild Bill" Kearney and José, bandit Bob Sangster goes into the cantina to see Carmelita, a dance hall girl who loves him, thereby incurring the jealousy of the town's sheriff. That same afternoon, Bob meets his partners and robs the New Jerusalem bank, during which the teller and José are killed. Bob, Bill and a wounded Barbwire escape, aided by a sandstorm that delays the town posse's pursuit. After losing their horses in the storm, and with their water supply nearly exhausted, the bandits come upon a wagon with a delirious woman inside. Thinking that he will rob and have his way with her, Bob first gives the woman water, then discovers that she is about to give birth. Because she is alone, as the woman dies, she asks the bandits to be the child's godfathers and take the baby to his father, Frank Edwards, who is the bank teller in New Jerusalem. Shamed when they realize that they have killed the baby's father, the three bandits bury the woman and decide to return to New Jerusalem as promised. At first they feel burdened by the baby, but quickly become attached to him. On the trail, when Barbwire can no longer go on, he insists that his friends leave him, then shoots himself. In the middle of the night, after the baby has finished the last of the canned milk from the wagon, Bill sneaks away from their campfire, leaving a note for the sleeping Bob that this is his "Xmas" gift because three cannot survive ... +


While waiting in the small frontier town of New Jerusalem for his three partners, "Barbwire" Tom Gibbons, "Wild Bill" Kearney and José, bandit Bob Sangster goes into the cantina to see Carmelita, a dance hall girl who loves him, thereby incurring the jealousy of the town's sheriff. That same afternoon, Bob meets his partners and robs the New Jerusalem bank, during which the teller and José are killed. Bob, Bill and a wounded Barbwire escape, aided by a sandstorm that delays the town posse's pursuit. After losing their horses in the storm, and with their water supply nearly exhausted, the bandits come upon a wagon with a delirious woman inside. Thinking that he will rob and have his way with her, Bob first gives the woman water, then discovers that she is about to give birth. Because she is alone, as the woman dies, she asks the bandits to be the child's godfathers and take the baby to his father, Frank Edwards, who is the bank teller in New Jerusalem. Shamed when they realize that they have killed the baby's father, the three bandits bury the woman and decide to return to New Jerusalem as promised. At first they feel burdened by the baby, but quickly become attached to him. On the trail, when Barbwire can no longer go on, he insists that his friends leave him, then shoots himself. In the middle of the night, after the baby has finished the last of the canned milk from the wagon, Bill sneaks away from their campfire, leaving a note for the sleeping Bob that this is his "Xmas" gift because three cannot survive on the small amount of water they have left. At first angry with the baby when he wakes up and reads Bill's note, Bob realizes that he, too, has grown to love the child and determines to reach New Jerusalem. Hours later, after he gives the baby the last drops of water from his canteen, Bob wanders desperately through the desert until he finds a small water hole. As soon as he tastes the water, he knows there is something wrong with it, then sees a sign stating the water contains arsenic. Frantic and hallucinating, Bob realizes that the only possible way to save the baby is to drink as much of the poisoned water as possible and hope that he has enough strength to reach New Jerusalem. As Christmas services are being held, Bob staggers into town and is barely able to enter the church before collapsing and dying with the baby still in his arms. A kind woman from the congregation then cares for the baby. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.