Confederate soldier Frank Winslow is terrified of the war and eventually runs away from battle. But when he finds himself behind enemy lines with vital information, he must decide between ... See full summary »
Tom Brown shows up at Harvard, confident and a bit arrogant. He becomes a rival of Bob McAndrew, not only in football and rowing crew, but also for the affections of Mary Abbott, a ... See full summary »
The idle son of a rich businessman joins the army when the U.S.A. enters World War One. He is sent to France, where he becomes friends with two working-class soldiers. He also falls in love... See full summary »
George W. Hill
Dr. Edward Meade and friend Richard Burton both love Sylvia Norcross. Both enlist in the military, but Meade stays back to care for deformed children. Sylvia thinks him a coward and marries... See full summary »
Confederate soldier Frank Winslow is terrified of the war and eventually runs away from battle. But when he finds himself behind enemy lines with vital information, he must decide between his fear and his conscience. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Give Me That Old Time Civil War Reconciliation Flick
"The Coward," a 1915 silent era Civil War flick, was designed, written and directed to be enjoyable North and South of Messrs. Mason and Dixon's line. Today it's a curiosity piece both as entertainment and as history (I'm showing it in a few weeks in my law school legal history seminar, "Slavery, the Constitution and the Civil War." Our un-hero is a finely turned out Southern lad, popular with the demure lassies and scion to the small but well-kept estate of a former colonel. The fellow lives with his parents and their two devoted slaves, a cook and a sort of valet-butler.
The call to arms, to defend the South (the South was invaded?), comes and the boy heads to the recruiting station where his contemporaries are eagerly lining up to doff formal attire and don uniforms. He chickens out, goes home and confesses to Pa that's he's chicken. No, thunders dad, no member of our family can be a coward. Get thee back and sign up.
He does so but at the first sign of danger, while on picket duty, he deserts and skedaddles home. Mommy embraces him, the slaves try to hide him and Pa has a royal fit when he finds his worthless, gutless offspring gulping down milk and cookies in the kitchen.
Determined to salvage family honor, Pa enlists as a private, replacing his son. Meanwhile, Union officers have occupied the family home and a hiding in the attic deserter overhears their battle plans. Guess how the story develops from there.
A tale of honor cravenly lost and then heroically redeemed, "The Coward" is the kind of satisfying melodrama that early moviegoers loved. The actors magnify their facial expressions to compensate for silently mouthed dialog.
Southerners watching "The Coward" could bask in the family loyalty to the Confederacy and the pliant, loving submission of slaves. Northerners saw an honorable foe whose forces but not spirit could be beaten.
A neat relic from the vaults of the silents.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?