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Unfortunately his film doesn't exist any more--so I doubt the above
comment has any validity (unless the viewer is very old and has an
One reel is in an archive in Sweden and that's re-edited summary so any comments on style don't reflect on the original.
There are also fragments of the battle scenes in, I believe, George Eastman House.
I find it hard to believe the other detailed summary given that this is the case. If the poster knows of an extant print they need to contact a major archive immediately as this is one of the most important and (sadly) lost films of its day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Several years before the United States' entrance into World War I, John
Harrison ( Charles Richman ) attends a lecture delivered by patriotic
writer Hudson Maxim and subsequently becomes an advocate of military
preparedness. Although he is ridiculed by his younger brother Charley (
James Morrison ), as well as by Mr. Vandergriff ( Harold Hubert ), his
fiancee's father, John continues to warn of the dangers of a weak
military. Mr. Emanon ( L. Rogers Lytton ), a frequent visitor to the
Vandergriff house, is a leader of the peace movement and secretly an
enemy agent. During a massive peace rally conducted by Mr. Emanon, the
enemy suddenly opens fire on New York City, shelling the buildings and
brutally killing many citizens. Vandergriff is shot and John is
bayoneted, and later Mrs. Vandergriff ( Louise Beaudet ) shoots her two
daughters to prevent their disgrace at the hands of the enemy.
Following some allegorical scenes involving historical American
figures, a plea is made for Americans to support military preparedness.
This 1915 silent war drama was produced by the Vitagraph Company of America and directed by Wilfrid North and J. Stuart Blackton. Tragically for silent cinema fans, the extant of this historical film is lost.
'The Battle Cry of Peace' is a weird film, depicting a near-future
invasion of the United States, and the subjugation of the American people.
Surprisingly, another film on this same theme ('The Fall of a Nation') was
made only a few months later. This theme was considered very timely during
the First World War ... and it's timely once again, in the days following
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
In 'Battle Cry', the invading legions are commanded by a mysterious dictator known only as 'Emanon' (or 'No Name' spelt backwards). The American people, lulled into false security by homegrown pacifists, are caught unawares as foreign submarines breach the waters along the eastern seaboard. With surprising speed, America's cities are conquered and the people are enslaved by Emanon's occupying army.
Several national figures appear as themselves in this film, including Admiral Dewey and (the Army's Chief of Staff) General Leonard Wood. It seems odd that American military leaders would play themselves in a fictional movie in which America suffers a military *defeat* ... yet it's clear that this film is meant to serve as a warning, rather than a prophecy.
'The Battle Cry of Peace' is crude and clumsy, even for its time ... but its intentions are good, and its theme is more relevant today than it was in 1915. I'll rate this movie 4 points out of 10.
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