Paul Leni turns out a standard rah-rah war film in what seems to be his first effort as a credited director. Dr. Hart (Heinrich Schroth) is assigned to the Eastern front when war is declared for no clear reason; one day Austria is sending ultimata to Serbia and the next day everyone at the fireworks display runs around in confusion. Of course the German forces are efficient and the doctors take care of everyone, Russian officers included; it is the Cossacks who poison the local wells when it turns out that the war is taking place at the castle of an old girl friend of Hart's.
Unfortunately, she is in love with a Russian officer and overacts disgracefully -- ah, these hot-blooded Poles! Fortunately it all ends well when the Polish puppet-state is declared and he becomes a German ally.
Like I said, fairly standard stuff, although to a modern viewer who's used to television's M.A.S.H., it may seem insufficiently chaotic. In addition, the print from the Berlin Archives looks dimmed by age and many generations of duplicates. Nonetheless, there are hints of some nice shots, like when Dr. Hart's decently underacting German girl friend shows up with a fleet of field ambulances she has paid for.
The message is clearly that we're all in this together and we can trust the people at the top to win this war honorably. At, least, I imagine that's what the message is, because my understanding of German is very limited.
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