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"The White Outlaw" (1925) is a classic silent Western starring Jack Hoxie and Marceline Day, stars of Silent Hall of Fame.
Directed by Clifford Smith
Written by Isadore Bernstein
Starring Jack Hoxie, Marceline Day
Distributed by Universal Pictures Corporation
Release date 6 September 1925
Country United States
Language Silent, English intertitles
This is Marceline Day's third film as a leading lady in a feature picture; the first two are not available so we have the unique opportunity to see the beginning of her career in full-length movies. Marceline Day received very positive reviews for her performance in this film, which was an important step on her way to major leading roles and a star status in the years to follow.
Jack Hoxie is a young ranch hand, who has three loves in his life: his beautiful white horse Scout, his faithful dog Bunk and the daughter of his boss. He loses one of the three when his horse is driven away by human cruelty and starts a free life. From that moment on this animal with above-average horse intelligence known as "The White Outlaw".
Jack rents a home on the ranch owned by Marceline Day's father. Jack and Marceline love each other, but she has another suitor, who is determined to drive Jack Hoxie away. This other man is the foreman, who one day evicts Jack from his home for unpaid lease.
In the meantime horses start disappearing from local properties and the foreman wastes no time in accusing Jack for stealing them. Jack suspects that his white horse is the culprit, because he knows it is capable of opening stable and corral doors. To prove his innocence Jack must catch his horse and bring it back. He is able to do that, but the foreman is not satisfied; he demands that the horse be punished as any human thief and gets a vote to have the horse killed.
Jack manages to free the horse, which runs away. As often happens in Westerns, those that cry foul the loudest turn out to be the bad guys in the end. The foreman schemes to steal the horses and drive them across the border. He is stopped, but Marceline Day falls from her horse and finds herself on the ground directly in the path of the galloping herd. Everybody watches in horror from the hills as she faces imminent death. That is, everybody but Jack Hoxie.
Here are just a few of the reviews for this film from the year after its release:
Putting their lives in peril to give an additional thrill to "The White Outlaw", Jack Hoxie and Marceline Day lay prostrate while the hoofs of a herd of wild horses thundered over them. (Steuben Farmer's Advocate)
Jack Hoxie's masterpiece.
One of the most impressive locales ever used as a background for a motion picture was found in taking "The White Outlaw". Each scene is an artistic composition, depicting rugged snow-capped mountains, their tops hidden in the clouds, gulches filled with snow, precipitous slopes and broad flat valleys. They serve as a magnificent artistic setting for the roaming of the band of a thousand white horses. Jack Hoxie and his pretty leading lady Marceline Day underwent many hardships in their performance before the camera. Miss Day dropped 15 ft. from the top of a precipice to a ledge 2 ft. wide. The force of her fall nearly carried her off to another drop of a hundred feet. The two took shelter in a narrow washout while the heard of a thousand horses passed overhead. (The Advertiser)
This is not the usual Western, where the action is built around the affection of the master for his horse, but it is a thrilling dynamic out-of-doors story.
The scenes showing a thousand white horses stampeding down the valley between the snow-capped mountains, raising a cloud of dust to the heavens, is one of the most spectacular sights ever filmed. The close escape of Jack Hoxie and his leading lady, Marceline Day, from the hoofs of the flying herd adds a big thrill that was really enacted during the taking of the picture.
The story concerns Hoxie being accused of stealing the horses that joined the band. His task is to find the band and cut out the branded horses. A band of rustlers tries to run the herd over the border and the resulting conflict makes this an exciting story set in a locale of extreme beauty. (The Daily News)
What Jack Hoxie does in his effort to clear himself and return the horses to their owners makes a thrilling motion picture out of "The White Outlaw", in which Marceline Day heads an excellent support. (Morning Bulletin)
In a scene which is possibly the most spectacular and daring ever made in the history of filmdom, Marceline Day took her life in her hands as she dashed down a narrow valley ahead of the charging herd. Her horse tripped, throwing her, while Jack Hoxie dashed forward to rescue her.
But the foaming animals were coming too rapidly and the couple could dash to safety just in the nick of time. Falling down, they hugged the ground as closely as vines while the very center of the herd veered and leaped over their heads.
Cliff Smith, director, and other members of the company, stood watching transfixed by what they believed to be the terrible fate of the plucky actor and actress. The cameraman automatically cranked away and every bit of the action was photographed and is shown in the picture. (Murphysboro Daily Independent)
Unusually full of thrills and beautiful Western scenery is "The White Outlaw". Jack Hoxie does some especially hazardous stunts to bring about the rescue of Marceline Day, his leading lady, from under the hoofs of a stampeding herd of a thousand wild horses. Miss Day is splendid in her role, imparting to the picture the vivacity and delicate fragrance of her youth, as a contrast to the rough, rugged he-men. (Advocate)
You can see a slideshow of stills from this film and other interesting stuff on our website silent-hall-of-fame.org.
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