BrianRxm Coins in Movies 128/131
The Wind (1928)
Two cowboys flip a Barber half dollar for Lillian Gish
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The 1928 MGM film "The Wind" stars Lillian Gish as a young Virginia girl who moves to a very windy part
of the American Southwest to live with her male cousin Beverly and his wife.
 
Letty, the young girl, is very pretty and attracts the attention of several men.
A wealthy businessman wants her as his mistress and two cowboys want to marry her.
The cowboys, as a joke, flip a half dollar to decide who gets her.
 
This film was made before the US Treasury outlawed the use of real money in films in 1934 and uses a
real Barber half dollar as the prop coin. The coin reverse or "tails" is shown in a man's hand.
The Wind
1. Title
 
Man - puny but irrestible - enroaching forever on Nature's vastnesses, gradually, very gradually
wresting away her strange secrets, subduing her fierce elements conquers the earth!
 
This is the story of a woman who came into the domain of the winds.
 
Letty, a young girl from Virginia, is on a train headed to the Southwest to live with her cousin Beverly
and his wife and family on a ranch in the town of Sweet Water.
 
Wirt Roddy, a cattle businessman, introduces himself.
 
The Wind
2. Wirt meets Letty
 
Letty mentions the wind and Wirt tells her about them.
 
Injuns call this the 'land o' the winds' - it never stops blowing here - day in, day out,
whistlin' and howlin' - makes folks go crazy - especially women!
 
At the railroad station, two cowboys, Lige and Sourdough, meet Letty to take her to the ranch.
 
The Wind
3. Sourdough drives Letty and advises her
 
Mighty queer - Injuns think the North Wind is a ghost horse that lives in the clouds.
 
Letty meets her cousin Beverly his wife Cora, and their three children.
 
The Wind
4. Cora, Beverly, Letty
 
Cora takes an immediate dislike to Letty.
 
The Wind
5. Cora's family and friends
 
The two men on the left are Lige and Sourdough.
 
Cora's children are playing with a stereoscope, an antique viewing device.
 
The Wind
6. Stereoscope
 
The stereoscope here resembles the popular Holmes stereoscope, invented by
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the father of the US Supreme Court Justice.
 
Letty attends a local dance where the ordinary wind is interrupted by a tornado.
 
The Wind
7. Tornado
 
Everyone rushes for the tornado shelter and, while there, Wirt asks Letty to be his girl.
She politely refuses when he tells her that he has a wife.
 
The dance resumes and the two cowboys propose to Letty.
 
The Wind
8. Sourdough and Lige propose
 
How can I decide? You're both so fascinating.
 
Guess you'll have to toss for us, then!
 
 
The Wind
9. Flipping for Letty
 
Lige hands Letty a coin and she flips it onto the floor.
 
Sourdough picks up the coin, announces that "lucky" Lige has won, and holds it in his hand.
 
The Wind
10. Barber half reverse
 
The coin shows the reverse of a "Barber" half dollar, named for the designer Charles E. Barber.
These were made from 1892 to 1915 and were still in circulation in 1928 when the film was made.
They are silver, 31mm in diameter, and weigh 12.5gm.
They are also called "Liberty Head" half dollars.
 
A "Barber" half dollar:
 
United States half dollar 1906-S
11. United States Barber half dollar 1906-S (San Francisco)
 
At the house, Cora becomes upset with Letty.
 
You don't think I ain't seen through your tricks, Miss Sly Boots!
You love Beverly - but you'll never get him away from me - he's mine!
 
Cora orders Letty out of the house, and, in desperation, Letty marries Lige.
They hold a small wedding and head for Lige's cabin.
 
The Wind
12. Lige takes Letty
 
Lige roughly begins maritial relations but stops when she refuses, then tells her that as soon as
he gets some money, he will send her back to Virginia.
 
A "norther", or stronger wind, is coming and the cowboys gather to round up wild horses,
which can be sold to the government for three dollars a head.
 
Wirt is injured and is brought to Lige and Letty's cabin.
His recovery includes playing with the stereoscope.
 
The Wind
13. Wirt recovering with Stereo
 
Wirt begins eyeing Letty and then becomes aggresive.
 
The Wind
14. Wirt and Letty
 
His intentions become clear and Letty handles the situation.
 
The Wind
15. Letty gets her gun
 
Letty buries Wirt outside and then imagines that he has revived.
 
The Wind
16. Letty sees something outside
 
She watches as Wirt is uncovered.
 
The Wind
17. Wirt uncovered
 
Lige arrives home and sees the state that she is in.
She tells him about the burial but Lige doesn't see anything and tells her:
 
There's nothin' out there - nothin' but sand!
Wind's mighty odd - if you kill a man in justice - it always covers him up!
 
The Wind
18. Lige and Letty together
 
Don't hate me, Lige! Don't send me away from you!
I'm not afraid of the wind - I'm not afraid of anything now because I'm your wife
to work with you - to love you!
Notes:
 
Cast:
Lillian Gish as Letty Marsh
Lars Hanson as Lige Hightower
Montagu Love as Wirt Roddy
Dorothy Cumming as Cora
Edward Earle as Beverly
William Orlamond as Sourdough
 
Director: Victor Seastrom
Writers: Frances Marion, Dorothy Scarborough (novel)
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