Saturday 13 October 2007

His Last Game (1909) ?

So obscure a movie that I can't even find it in IMDb, His Last Game is another silent baseball short, made in 1909, not that there's much baseball in it. It's more of a Native American short that is both solidly politically incorrect and a stunning example of frontier justice. Bill Going plays for the Choctaws and they're up against Jimtown in the championship game. Flamboyant local gamblers try everything that they can to corrupt him into throwing the game but he resists their charms and in fact ends up on the wrong side of the law by shooting one of them in self defence.

The production quality of this film is terrible, even for 1909. The baseball game looks like it's just shot on a vacant lot, with teams distinguishable only by labels slapped on the chests of the team members, and there's nothiing to suggests who's winning or losing until Going turns up and wins the day as a pitcher. The rest of the film takes place in two locations: an outdoor grave set which is literally just a hole in the ground, and the outside of the Jimtown bar which is just the front of a building with a tree standing by.

The story is painful. Bad guys threaten good guy, good guy shoots one of the bad guys, sheriff walks good guy to a hole in the ground, good guy gets leave to go play his championship game while the sheriff and the gravediggers wait for his return, he comes back, they shoot him dead into the grave and then everyone else arrives, from the messenger with an official reprieve to his team members who see him dead and wander off. The titles are few and far between and the end but you could write them yourself. 'So we killed an innocent man? Never mind, he was just a Choctaw. Who's buying?'

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