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  • Apparently the earliest Ford film to survive intact, Straight Shooting could hardly be bettered as a prototype for so many films later in his career-- there are moments that are reproduced almost exactly in The Searchers in particular, and to a lesser extent in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, etc. While this modest genre film doesn't treat these themes with the deep emotional resonance of the later classics, it is surprisingly serious and thoughtful, and shows that the young Ford was unusually responsive to the emotional gravity that an older star like Carey could bring to a simple shoot 'em up-- the film is more mature than many of his 20s films with George O'Brien.
  • RNQ8 June 2007
    It's been objected that Straight Shooting uses static camera positions, but especially in the long shots fine action and scenery are captured, like lines of horsemen coming down a hillside. In the story characters make interesting choices: a cowboy aids a farmer, a bandit gets the band of a chum of his to come fight against the bad guys who want possession of the whole territory and especially its water. The Bess played by Mollie Malone (a more solid presence than some other actresses) gets her gun ready as does another woman. And Bess too makes some interesting choices. If I can judge by the hat, a Mexican guy steals a jar of jam, but he's helped save the farm, one of the ways Ford and Hively avoid the sexism and racism of D. W. Griffith's Battle of Elderbush Gulch of a few years previous. That said, the Prague print I saw has gaps following out threads of the story. There's a pretty good shootout with the two guys using long rifles--this is the older west, though already the myth had been around quite a while.
  • "Straight Shooting" is of historical interest for many reasons, including the grouping of Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, and John Ford.

    Even this early in his career, Ford knew how to frame a shot, and many a beautiful shot here involved framing in doorways and windows.

    Carey's character seemed often modeled on those so frequently portrayed by William S. Hart, whom Carey in some ways copied: both were Easterners who wanted to be Westerners, and both beautifully presented to us a picture of the rugged and basically decent character we want to think of as the essential Westerner.

    Hoot Gibson was about 25 here but looked younger. He never was especially good-looking but he was always, in every movie I've seen him in, likable, and always one of the greatest of cowboys. At this stage, he'd been in pictures for about seven years.

    Providing the love interest, but also much more, was a lovely young lady -- though at age 29 not so young as the part she played -- who frequently reminded me of the wonderful Mae Marsh. She seems to be relatively unknown although she has 88 credits here at IMDb, all in silent films.

    So, yes, there is motion picture history here, the early years of some movie icons, a foreshadowing of some great careers, but the editing ... oy.

    Many early movies suffered from some scenes, frequently static, that seemed to run on and on and on. Even D.W. Griffith allowed some pointless, non-moving shots to just hang, for no apparent reason.

    Here we have the exact opposite problem. Probably because of sloppy editing, far too many scenes or angles are just cut off. It's hard to tell who is doing what to whom, and why. Even in the middle of the big battle, people aim, others fall, and it is confusing as to who is who and whether we should care: bad guys or good guys?

    Yet, some other scenes, of Cheyenne Harry just staring, do go on and on, a fairly amateurish effort at showing the character pondering ... and pondering ... and pondering. By no means just once.

    Perhaps, too, at least part of the problem is the version presented at YouTube. Though official run time is listed as 57 minutes, the version I saw is 2 hours and 13 minutes! For who-knows-what-reason, after "The End," the middle of the movie starts again! (Frankly, at YouTube, many a movie is uploaded by a liar or an incompetent, or both! And there seems to be no way to get YouTube to call down the offender.)

    "Straight Shooting" is a movie every Western fan, every John Ford fan, every Harry Carey fan, every Hoot Gibson fan -- and each of those includes me -- should watch, if only for the chance to see the early years of their film work.

    More than that, though, it is a good story, with good characterizations, and so intriguing in the directing.

    There is a lot of evidence of D.W. Griffith influence, and at least one shot seems directly taken from "The Birth of a Nation." But "Straight Shooting" is generally exciting as well as interesting and very definitely worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The fifth film in Harry Carey's "Cheyenne Harry" series, and the first of feature length (namely 5 reels), this was also the third in the series to be directed by John "Jack" Ford. Already actor Carey had established the persona that he would interpret for the rest of his career. He was still playing similar lead roles in the 1940s, most particularly in Henry Hathaway's "Shepherd of the Hills" (1941). When he made "Straight Shooting", Carey was 39 years old. Pleasingly, he acts his age and no attempt is made to disguise this fact. If anything, he actually looks a bit older. Typically, the romantic sub-plot centers around Carey's age. Will he marry a girl less than half his age? (Actually Molly Malone was 29 when this film was made, but she looks 18 at the very most). "Straight Shooting" was director Ford's first feature film. He had previously directed three two-reelers and one three-reeler. Ford is not feeling his way here. He obviously already knows what he wants to achieve and how to obtain these results. "Straight Shooting" is a sophisticated movie, centering on the Cheyenne Harry character, and Ford is not afraid to paint his hero in less than glowing terms. The movie is full of scenes and choices which stay in the memory. Even when you see the movie and are familiar with the choices the characters make, you want to see the action unfold again and again. Available on a watchable Alpha DVD.
  • Cineanalyst14 September 2005
    This is notable for being an early directorial effort by John Ford, the great Western filmmaker. It's short and simple--about a feud between ranchers and farmers over water supply. The print I saw was missing some brief footage, and the film isn't in the best shape. Still, it is clearly unimpressive. There are plenty of shots with open doorways, and one might find similarities with Ford's later work, but the static camera positioning is prosaic even for 1917.

    Harry Carey's Cheyenne Harry is a bandit turned good after seeing an attractive female--a role too similar to the one William S. Hart had already introduced to the screen in nearly every one of his vehicles. And, the climax of "Straight Shooting" seems to be taken straight from D.W. Griffith; it especially resembles "The Birth of a Nation" in a clumsy, derivative way. Eventually, Ford would improve upon past films and film-making, but here he was just copying others.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Along with "The Virginian" and William S. Hart's gritty West depictions, "Straight Shooting" seemed to herald in a more realistic approach to the sage brush drama and was justly praised by critics of the day.

    John Ford (billed as Jack) brutally showed a bitter clash between cattlemen and homesteaders and Harry Carey put his stamp on the role of "Cheyenne" Harry, initially hired by the ranchers but after seeing the tragic and senseless death of a young homesteader joins farmer Sweet Water Sims. As well as Harry Carey, a young Hoot Gibson was also promoted to featured player status on the strength of his role as Sam, a young cowboy, again employed by the ranchers but who is in love with pretty Joan Sims.

    There are some stunning sequences - when Thunder Flint is introduced there is a beautiful tracking shot showing horses grazing on a hill which was to become a Ford signature piece and also the rain. It never seems to rain in westerns but it does in this one and seeing the tethered horses being drenched by rain as well as the cowboys larking about in the mud, just adds to the realism.

    The boy's funeral affects Harry immensely and he then vows to reform and work for the good. He has to get the ranchers before they get him - which they plan for that night. There is also a gunfight, high noon style, between Harry and the man hired to track him down and who, incidentally, was the same coward who gunned down Joan's brother!! And in another interesting twist (for 1917) Harry fights fire with fire by recruiting his old gang of cut-throats - the Black Eyed Gang!!

    Interesting actress, Molly Malone - she looks such a kid but even though she made her film debut only the year before in 1916, she was really a late bloomer having been born in 1888. Being almost 30 (at a time when most of the young actress were barely out of their teens) was no barrier and she went on to have a lengthy career.
  • bsmith55526 September 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Straight Shooting" is notable as John (aka Jack) Ford's first feature length film. He had directed a few two-reelers earlier. In fact this film started out as a short but was expanded to feature length during production. It stars Harry Carey as a recurring Ford character, Cheyenne Harry.

    The plot is what would be a staple among westerns, the cattlemen against the nesters. Leading the cattle ranchers is Thunder Flint (Duke Lee) who wants to drive the farmers off of their land. Sweet Water Sims (George Berrell) and his comely young daughter Joan (Molly Malone) and son Ted (Ted Brooks) represent (for budgetary reasons) the struggling farmers.

    Flint hires wanted criminal ($1,000 reward no less) Cheyenne Harry (Carey) to drive the nesters out. Harry is a hard drinkin', hard smokin' fast on the draw hombre. He even gets into an all night drinking bout with Flint co-hort Placer Freemont (Vestor Pegg). Before Harry can take action on the farmers, Flint dry gulches young Ted Sims, killing him. Harry comes upon the burial service and takes pity on them, the lovely Joan in particular. Joan has been the apple of cowhand Sam Turner's (Hoot Gibson) eye during all of the trouble.

    Harry sees the error of his ways and sides with the farmers. Flint orders Freemont to kill Harry. In a showdown, Harry prevails. Flint then gathers a large gang of cattlemen and plans an attack on the farmers. Seeing that the farmers are badly outnumbered, Harry seeks help from a former outlaw pal Black-Eye Pete (Milton Brown) and his gang. A large battle ensues and...............................

    Harry is then faced with a dilemma. Does he get Joan to mend that tear in his shirt or does he ride on?

    Many of Ford's future trademarks are in this film. He always liked plenty of hard ridin' horsemen complete with horse falls with plenty of action. Long panoramic shots such as the shot of a cattle drive from the top of a hill impress. Lots of gun play, a sympathetic good/bad hero and a little romance thrown in. The trademark "Fordian" humor would come later. By the way, what happened to the price on Harry's head?

    A good start to a long and rewarding career.