Hands Up (lost silent adventure film serial; 1918)

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A screenshot from the first episode of the serial, "The Bride of the Sun".

Status: Lost

Hands Up was a silent adventure-themed film serial released in 1918, comprised of 15 chapters. It was distributed by Pathé Exchange. The numerous chapters of the serial were all released from August 18th to November 24th, 1918.[1] Ruth Roland played the main star, Echo Delane.[2] George Chesebro played "Hands Up", the cowboy of whom the serial was named after.[3]

The film had to have many cuts by different censors, including most that would be considered quite tame by today's standards. In the first chapter and the second chapter, the scenes of a man being punched were required to be cut.[4] Some intertitles from the fifth chapter were also cut for unknown reasons; the intertitles read "I won her fair [.] She belongs to me now", and "Now she is mine again".[5] One minor scene of a woman sitting on a bar was cut for an unknown reason; the reasons for all of these cuts were never stated.[6]

Plot[edit | edit source]

In this "cyclonic Western," [3] descendants of the Incas from the southwest attempt to capture Echo Delane, a newspaperwoman, as they believe she is the "princess of their tribe" and intends to use her as their sacrifice. However, she is soon saved by the eponymous cowboy and his gang. There is also an unknown being titled "The Phantom Rider" who helps Echo get out of dangerous situations numerous times.[7]

The main antagonists of the film serial include the Gentlemen Rancher, an outlaw who lurks through the city at night and ties a handkerchief to his face; the Adventuress is a female socialite who is described as conniving and cunning and is also said to be a "romantic rival" to Echo Delane. The Incan priests who repeatedly attempt to kidnap Echo to sacrifice her take up antagonistic roles as well.[3]

Availability[edit | edit source]

Despite being considered a "great serial",[8] none of the 15 episodes of Hands Up are easily accessible on the internet. Due to the film reels of the serial being made of nitrate and the age of the film itself (over 100 years old as of now), the serial is unlikely to surface in full anytime soon.

However, numerous posters and screenshots of the serial can be found easily on the internet. Additionally, a promotional trailer is currently stored in the archives of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and it is described in detail in the Frames Cinema Journal.[3]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]