First
Editions

Search

What's New

Contents
Home

Site Map
Links
Value Guide
Copyright Info

Books
Printer

Shepherd
D.Matthews
Uncrowned
Barbara Worth

Yesterdays
Eyes of World
Man's a Man
Brian Kent
Helen
Mine
Son of Father
Groceryman
Long Ago Told
Exit
Devil's Hwy
Ma Cinderella
To My Sons
Went Away

Collectibles
Original Mat.
Excerpts
Plays
Pamphlets
--Compliments
--
As I know Him
--Intimate
--Life/Writings
--Inspired

--Sterling
Produce Labels

Sheet Music
BW  Hotel

ShepCountry
Other
Magazines

Photo Gallery
Paintings

Postcards
 
(List)
ADVERTISING
Appleton
BSC numbered
BSC no numb.

PRINTER

Aurora
SHEPHRD of HILLS
Area Photos
Boats, Docks
Branson RP
Branson tint
Hall Photo Co.
Marvel Cave
Matt's Cabn RP
Matt's Cabn tnt

Matt, Mollie, etc

Mutton,Dewey
Uncle Ike RP
Uncle Ike Tint
DAN MATTHEWS
Bennett Sp. Tint

Bennett Spr RP
Lebanon
BARB. WORTH
Hotel RP
Hotel Exterior
Hotel Inter

Hotel Scenic
Jacumba
San Diego

Santa Barbara

EYES

Forest Home
HBW PLACES
Hiram College
Imperial Cnty
Kansas City
Pierce City
Tucson


Movies
(Introduction)
1916, Eyes

1919, Shepherd
1924, Man
1924, Mine
1925, Son Father 
1925. Brian K
1926, Barb W
1928, Shepherd
(1928, Lights)
1930, Eyes
1935, When Man
1936,  Matthews
1936, The Mine
1936, Wild Brian
1937, West  Gold
1937, Out West
1937, Secret Vly
1937, Californian
1941, Shepherd
1949, Massacre
1959, Shep (TV)
1964, Shepherd

Locations
New York
Pierce City
Pittsburg
Kansas City
Lebanon
Branson
Redlands
El Centro
Tucson
Los Angeles
Escondido
San Diego

In Depth
Kinkead
Markham Review

Mike O'Brien
Tucson Library

UCLA Library

Princeton Library

Indiana U. Libr.

E Clampus Vitus
Bittersweet
Manuscripts

Sales

 


The Shepherd of the Hills -- 1928


See Credits and Review below Picture

Click on Photos to Enlarge

shepoday2b.jpg (35459 bytes)

Front of Movie Herald.  Photo courtesy of Dave Hadsell

Movies: Wright's Greatest Sorrow

Click here to read the story:

  • How and why Wright got into the movie business

  • Which movies were actually based on his stories

  • Which were based on stories he had never even seen and quickly despised.

 

shepodayb.jpg (73752 bytes) Inside of above Movie Herald.  Photo courtesy of Dave Hadsell
shepoday4.jpg (61472 bytes) Lobby Card
shepherdslide2.jpg (57413 bytes) 50mm glass promo slide.
shepoday5.jpg (58476 bytes) 8' X 10' Photo of Marion Douglas, Molly O'Day and John Boles, from 1928 movie, The Shepherd of the Hills. Courtesy Dave Hadsell

1928,  b&w,  silent,  9 reels,  First National

Reviews: Certainly the critics from the New York Times and Variety didn't find much good in this version of The Shepherd of the Hills, but they did find some.  Variety says "'Shepherd' registers as a mild western which will need all the publicity it can get. . . ."  "Not  'smash' box office but likely to figure moderately through whatever strength the title possesses and the performances of Francis, Boles, and Betz.  Scenic qualities also an asset."

The New York Times is a bit more positive--I think.  "While the picturization of Harold Bell Wright's story, 'The Shepherd of the Hills' has its flourishes, its extravagancies, its unlikely villains and, in some sequences, its disregard for human psychology, this film is far more diverting than other screen conceptions of the same author's widely read works."

The Motion Picture Almanac (MPA) of 1929 suggests, however, that the film was viewed with more enthusiasm by the public than by the critics.  The Shepherd of the Hills was one of 820 feature films released in 1928.  The MPA polled theater owners across the country to learn which films they considered the best films of 1928.  The Shepherd of the Hills did not appear in that list.  But according to those same theater owners "The Shepherd of the Hills" was the seventh highest money-maker of the year, behind only Ben Hur, The Big Parade, Seventh Heaven, Romona, Speedy, and What Price Glory.  (Though The Winning of Barbara Worth had been released in 1926, it was still ranked number 52 among the "Top 104 Money Makers of 1928.")

The Motion Picture Almanac was an annual publication of a weekly theatre owners trade journal whose name in 1928 was Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World.  That paper always included comments from theatre owners.  One owner shared these views with his colleagues in the August 18, 1928 issue: "Shepherd of the Hills--special cast--July 29-30.  Well boys, this is a natural.  Holds my house record for the year and a few of the big ones played this year include 'What Price Glory,' 'Seventh Heaven,' 'Ben Hur,' 'and 'The Big Parade.'  I have never played a Harold Bell Wright picture that wasn't a bell ringer.  Eight reels.  --Wm. E. Tragsdorf, Trags Theatre, Neillsville, Wis. --small town patronage."

From the descriptions of the two critics, the story is about a terrible drought that threatens to ruin all the farmers in the area.  The Shepherd, a wise old man recently arrived in the area, seems to become their spiritual leader, the one who encourages them to keep believing that rain will come.  Eventually, when rain does not come they turn on him and abuse him.  But just at that moment, after he prays, rain comes and the sheep, the farms, the farmers, and the Shepherd, are saved.  As the rain falls, Young Matt finally defeats Wash Gibbs in a ferocious fight, which helps him to win the hand of Sammy Lane.  Incidentally, the Variety critic says Molly O'Day has very little to do in this film, doesn't do it that well, and looks "more than pudgy."  I guess they is why they are called "critics."

Meanwhile, back in the rain and the celebrating, the familiar story emerges.  The Shepherd admits that he is the grandfather of Little Pete.  In fact, in a flashback, the film shows that the Shepherd had actually encouraged his son to abandon Little Pete's mother, the daughter of Old Matt and Aunt Molly, leading to her death.  In the end, the rain foils the plans of a big city swindler to grab all the land when the farmers couldn't make their payments.

It would seem that the idea for a 1950's dog show was born here.  "In this production. . . ," says the New York Times critic, "there is one episode where Lassie, an intelligent dog, stops the sheep from drinking poisoned water.  Lassie has a good noodle on her shaggy body, for she even restrains herself when squirrels are around.  She almost ignores one of the little animals when it is sitting on Howitt's shoulders."  Sounds familiar.

Release:  First National

Production: First National

Director:  Albert Rogell

Writing/Screenplay: From Harold Bell Wright's novel by same name.

Character Actor
The Shepherd Alec B. Francis
Sammy Lane Molly O'Day
Young Matt John Boles
Wash Gibbs Matthew Betz
Old Matt Romaine Fielding
"By Thunder" Otis Harlan
Ollie Joseph Bennett
Little Pete Maurice Murphy

Availability: This is considered to be one of thousands of movies forever lost. No copy is known to exist.

 


Back To:
Top

Books

Collectibles

Postcards

Movies

Locations

In Depth

Your Questions and Suggestions are Welcome. Click here for Email Address.

This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
Copyright 2000-May, 2011 by Gerry Chudleigh
Last updated 05/26/11