Original 11x14-inch lobby card for "O'Malley of the Mounted" starring William S. Hart. Buff-colored card stock. Pinholes show it hung on the wall of a theater.
See also publicity photo.
Written and produced by Hart; Directed by Lambert Hillyer. According to the Internet Movie Database, the film was shot in Chatsworth. Production apparently wrapped
Dec. 20, 1920; it was released Feb. 6, 1921.
Theatrical release by Artcraft; distributed by Paramount Pictures Corp. Both companies were subsidiaries of Famous Players-Lasky, whose name appears on this lobby card at lower right.
"O'Malley" was probably the last film released under the Artcraft name.
Later that same year (1921), the Federal Trade Commission sued Famous Players-Lasky as the FTC started to crack down on block booking, where production companies owned so
many movie theaters, they were able to force independent theaters to pay for "blocks" of films, including lousy ones, sight-unseen, if they wanted to show the
The government considered Famous Players-Lasky the "largest concern in the motion picture industry and the biggest theater owner in the world"
and charged it and 11 others with "conspiracy and restraint of trade" in violation of anti-trust laws. Finally on July 9, 1927, the FTC ordered
Famous Players-Lasky to end the practice of block booking. But Famous Players-Lasky (as Paramount) delayed and fought back
for another 20 years. The end came in 1948 when the U.S. Supreme Court (in United States v. Paramount Pictures Inc.) outlawed block booking and
demanded a separation of theater ownership from production and distribution.
Getting back to "O'Malley of the Mounted," it's not the bad-guy-goes-good fare of the typical Hart film. It's a bit more like a John Wayne-Lone Star
Western of the 1930s where the protagonist is a good guy who infiltrates a gang by pretending to be a bad guy. The difference is that here, instead of
falling for a virtuous girl like Hart or Wayne usually do, Hart falls for the sister of a bad guy. In a twist, Hart ultimately turns in his badge
rather than hand over the girl's brother, whose crime Hart (as O'Malley) considers justified.
That's what's behind the tag line on this lobby card: "I'm going to resign from the service — I can't arrest the brother of the woman I love."
In the end, lust conquers all.
About "O'Malley of the Mounted"
From Koszarski (1980:129): Produced by the William S. Hart Company; distributed by Paramount-Artcraft; released February 1921; ©December 20, 1920; six reels (5626 feet).
Directed by Lambert Hillyer; screenplay by Lambert Hillyer from a story by William S. Hart; photographed by Joe August; art director, J.C. Hoffner; art titles by Harry Barndollar.
Cast: William S. Hart (Sergeant O'Malley); Eva Novak (Rose Lanier); Antrim Short (Bud Lanier); Leo Willis (Red Jaeger); Bertholde Sprotte (the Sheriff); Alfred Allen (Big Judson).
Synopsis (from Motion Picture World, February 19, 1921): "O'Malley of the Mounted" is a sergeant who has won his stripes by getting any criminal he is sent out to arrest, this in wild Northwestern territory amid men who dare follow their own impulses rather than obey the law. On account of his reputation, he is sent to bring in the murderer of a saloon-keeper named La Grange. He takes a southern trail, believing that the criminal has escaped over the border. At a rude entertainment known as a "stampede" in Forker City, O'Malley becomes interested in the performance of some riders reputed to belong to a band of outlaws. He follows them to their stronghold in the Baldy Mountains and decides to become one of them by robbing a bank. He holds up the cashier for $5,000 and escapes with the loot. He is chased by a posse to the Baldy Mountains and thus obtains admittance to membership in the gang of outlaws.
O'Malley becomes strongly attracted by Rose Lanier and her brother, Bud, the latter a fugitive from justice. He fights a desperate character known as Red Jaeger in defense of the girl and is badly wounded. Red resolves to betray the entire band and rides to the sheriff's office secretly for that purpose. He there learns that the bank's money has been returned by the supposed robber and obtains written evidence that [O'Malley] is playing the part of a traitor. He produces the evidence when the gang has returned from a disastrous raid.
O'Malley is bound to a tree and placed under guard to be hanged at daybreak. Even Rose Lanier seems to turn against him, but she does so as a ruse while handing him a knife. By Rose and Bud the sergeant is rescued from sure death. While riding with them toward the border he confirms his suspicions that Bud is the murderer he is seeking, but finds that the killing was done to avenge a wronged sister. He leaves the brother and sister to make his report, and finds his act justified by his commanding officer. He returns to his loved one no longer "O'Malley of the Moutned."
Review (from Wid's, February 13, 1921): Bill Hart is like the old family physician — you have great faith in what he prescribes. And you can always depend on him. ... Besides some fine action, a great fist fight and rodeo sequence, there is a genuine sympathetic twist toward the close, when the [Royal Mounted] officer returns to hand in his resignation rather than arrest the brother of the girl he loves.