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HISTORY

Various contemporary sources enthused about actor William S. Hart’s “return” to motion picture making after a nearly two-year absence from the screen. News columns in the 4 Aug 1923 Moving Picture World and 8 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Herald noted that Hart had spent his hiatus from the studios researching U.S. “pioneer history” and writing a story involving many real-life characters from frontier times. The trade journals indicated that Paramount Pictures scenarist, Albert Shelby Le Vino, had been tasked with adapting Hart’s story into a screenplay. However, a 29 Sep 1923 Motion Picture News item credited writer J. G. Hawks with completing the screen adaptation.
       Principal photography began 20 Aug 1923, according to a 1 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Herald brief. After about five weeks of filming at studios in Los Angeles, CA, cast and crew traveled to Victorville, CA, a small town eighty-five miles to the northeast, near the San Bernardino Valley, for the balance of production.
       A 13 Oct 1923 Motion Picture News item announced that Omar Whitehead, Charles Dudley, and William De Vaull had been cast as “Abraham Lincoln,” “General Custer,” and “General Sheridan,” respectively. An entry in Larry Langman’s 1992 index, A Guide to Silent Westerns, confirms that these characters appeared in the film. However, it could not be determined whether or not the aforementioned actors played those roles.
       The 1 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review noted that Paramount was considering the title William S. Hart in Wild Bill Hickok.
       By Nov 1923, the film was in theaters on the East Coast. Reviews were mixed. A majority of critics celebrated Hart’s ... More Less

Various contemporary sources enthused about actor William S. Hart’s “return” to motion picture making after a nearly two-year absence from the screen. News columns in the 4 Aug 1923 Moving Picture World and 8 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Herald noted that Hart had spent his hiatus from the studios researching U.S. “pioneer history” and writing a story involving many real-life characters from frontier times. The trade journals indicated that Paramount Pictures scenarist, Albert Shelby Le Vino, had been tasked with adapting Hart’s story into a screenplay. However, a 29 Sep 1923 Motion Picture News item credited writer J. G. Hawks with completing the screen adaptation.
       Principal photography began 20 Aug 1923, according to a 1 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Herald brief. After about five weeks of filming at studios in Los Angeles, CA, cast and crew traveled to Victorville, CA, a small town eighty-five miles to the northeast, near the San Bernardino Valley, for the balance of production.
       A 13 Oct 1923 Motion Picture News item announced that Omar Whitehead, Charles Dudley, and William De Vaull had been cast as “Abraham Lincoln,” “General Custer,” and “General Sheridan,” respectively. An entry in Larry Langman’s 1992 index, A Guide to Silent Westerns, confirms that these characters appeared in the film. However, it could not be determined whether or not the aforementioned actors played those roles.
       The 1 Sep 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review noted that Paramount was considering the title William S. Hart in Wild Bill Hickok.
       By Nov 1923, the film was in theaters on the East Coast. Reviews were mixed. A majority of critics celebrated Hart’s return to the screen. However, a review in the 21 Nov 1923 NYT argued that Wild Bill Hickok was old-fashioned, “of 1913 vintage … in spite of [having been] made in 1923.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
1 Sep 1923
p. 64.
Exhibitors Herald
8 Sep 1923
p. 61.
Exhibitors Herald
15 Dec 1923
p. 47.
Film Daily
25 Nov 1923.
---
Motion Picture News
29 Sep 1923.
---
Motion Picture News
13 Oct 1923.
---
Motion Picture News
1 Dec 1923.
---
Moving Picture World
4 Aug 1923.
---
New York Times
21 Nov 1923.
---
Variety
22 Nov 1923
p. 26.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
William S. Hart in Wild Bill Hickok
Release Date:
18 November 1923
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 November 1923
Production Date:
began 20 August 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 December 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19724
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77
Length(in feet):
6,893
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The initial scenes, in Washington, depict important political and military persons of the Civil War period. In the aftermath, renowned gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok retires to Dodge City, where he puts aside his weapons and becomes a card dealer. Hickok comes forward when the local lawmen ask him to help rid Dodge City of its lawless elements. He visits General Custer to retrieve his sword, thus symbolizing his return to active life, but McQueen, the gang's leader, escapes. Hickok hunts him down and shoots him, then leaves Dodge City with a broken heart--he fell in love with a woman already ... +


The initial scenes, in Washington, depict important political and military persons of the Civil War period. In the aftermath, renowned gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok retires to Dodge City, where he puts aside his weapons and becomes a card dealer. Hickok comes forward when the local lawmen ask him to help rid Dodge City of its lawless elements. He visits General Custer to retrieve his sword, thus symbolizing his return to active life, but McQueen, the gang's leader, escapes. Hickok hunts him down and shoots him, then leaves Dodge City with a broken heart--he fell in love with a woman already married. +

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

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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.