ACL Ten Best 1931
"Hearts Of The Golden West, 1200 ft., 16mm., filmed and directed by Theodore Huff and enacted entirely by youngsters under thirteen, is a delightful and whimsical burlesque of the Griffith melodrama of the days when titles were long and plots of villainy and intrigue laid in the great open places swept grandly to a moral conclusion in which "true hearts were united." In those days, producers did not hesitate to use a cyclorama or to place painted canvas scenery on an outdoor location. Mr. Huff revives all of the old technique, even to the dance hall set, with its inevitable balcony, and the fight to the finish at the edge of the cliff. Under his direction, the children act their parts with complete seriousness and, in some cases, with mimetic ability that would have given their prototypes pause." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 658.
This film is also known as Hearts of the West.
"There, in the final trailer, is summarized the keynote of Hearts Of The West, one of the most delightful amateur films that has come to League headquarters in many months. A satire of all of the classic and appealing attributes of our earlier, more naive cinema, this perfect burlesque depicts the troubled course of true love in the hearts of the golden haired darling of the Lone Star Cafe and her silent, strong and two gunned lover. As the last reel starts, the leering, mustachioed villain has the poor heroine shrinking "in his power."' But he has not reckoned on the indomitable courage of the hero and the touching loyalty of his cowboy pals for, as the reel flickers to an end, the wages of sin have been meted out, virtue has triumphed and all is honeyed happiness in a soft focus, final clinch. Theodore Huff of Englewood, N. J., in the person of D. W. DeReel, wrote, set, costumed, directed, photographed and edited this epic of pure love on the purple plains. His actors were the neighborhood kids, playing their parts with splendid seriousness. His desert was a sandpit in suburban New Jersey; his cactus, cardboard that sometimes failed to stand, and his hero, in a closeup, rode desperately in one spot to the rescue as the same scenery streamed away behind him on an endless painted cyclorama." Movie Makers, May 1931, 297.
Huff's body of work, including Hearts of the West, is discussed in Charles Tepperman's Amateur Cinema: The Rise of North American Moviemaking, 1923-1960, 261-267.
The Theodore Huff Collection, George Eastman House