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Swords and Hearts (1911)

Not Rated | | Drama, Short, War | 28 August 1911 (USA)
A poor girl is secretly in love with a wealthy young planter. During the Civil War she helps him escape capture by Union soldiers. After the war, with his fortune gone, she confesses that she loves him.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writer:

Emmett C. Hall
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Cast

Cast overview:
Wilfred Lucas ... Hugh Frazier
Claire McDowell ... Irene Lambert
Dorothy West ... Jennie Baker
William J. Butler William J. Butler ... Old Ben (as W.J. Butler)
Charles West Charles West ... The Union Suitor
Verner Clarges Verner Clarges ... Hugh's Father
Francis J. Grandon ... Jennie's Father
Alfred Paget ... 1st Bushwhacker
W.C. Robinson W.C. Robinson ... 2nd Bushwhacker
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Storyline

As Hugh Frazier, son of a wealthy tobacco planter, leaves to join his company in the Confederate Army, he becomes engaged to Irene Lambert, a beautiful, but cold and calculating girl, who promises her hand when he returns victorious. Unknown to Hugh, Jennie Baker, a little girl of the "poor white class," has fallen passionately in love with him. Her father is one of those who hate the "aristocrats," eking an existence selling berries, etc., from their little garden. Hugh, making a flying visit to Irene, is only saved from capture by Jennie's devotion, she taking his horse and donning his hat and coat, by which she leads his pursuers astray. That night, Jennie's father is killed leading an attack by Bushwhackers upon the Frazier Mansion in an attempt to secure the family wealth, but old Ben, the negro servant, anticipates their designs by taking the family strong box and burying it. The Bushwhackers, however, burn the old mansion to the ground, Hugh's father, perishing in the ruins. ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Plot Keywords:

american civil war | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama | Short | War

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 August 1911 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Espadas e Corações See more »

Filming Locations:

Coytesville, New Jersey, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Full of the gentle pathos peculiar to the Confederate point of view
3 April 2016 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

One of the scenario problems of the day is to write a Civil War story that will not offend that considerable population south of Mason and Dixon's line. There may exist some small question in Swords and Hearts, but that remains to be definitely determined by the real judges. It is a question of whether Southern people will relish the idea of one of their daughters jilting an unfortunate Confederate soldier for a victorious Union officer of means. Southerners may swallow the situation without making a face, on the broad grounds of human nature, but there is another pill to be swallowed when the ruined returning Confederate officer decides to marry a "Cracker" girl, or poor white. A poor white is hardly any more popular in the South than the northern war-time soldier. These two elements are the only ones that can be suggested as possible faults in Swords and Hearts. Aside from these speculative flaws, which may or may not amount to much, Swords and Hearts is an excellent production. It is acted in the usual Biograph way and is full of the gentle pathos peculiar to the Confederate point of view. The picture as a whole is partial to the Southern side. It has more to do with events at home while the able-bodied men are away at war than it has to do with battlefields. As a matter of fact, there are no battle scenes. Neither is there any triumphal parading of the Union flag nor any trailing of the stars and bars. It is a domestic drama resulting directly from a conflict raging elsewhere. There are in this picture some familiar Southern types that are depicted with skill. The old faithful colored manservant is one of these; also the dignified type of elderly Southern aristocratic planter, so ably portrayed in this instance by the late Verner Clarges, one of the last appearances of that venerable and widely known classic actor. The portico of the Southern mansion is a piece of artistic realism that gives the picture the true atmosphere of antebellum gentility. It is a substantially built structure that is later destroyed by a band of marauding ruffians known as bushwhackers, who, after looting the mansion, set fire to it and burn it to the ground. The story centers around the son of a Southern planter and two women. One of them a cold, haughty and calculating young woman of aristocratic birth; the other a "cracker" girl, daughter of a mountain berry- picker. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hugh Frazier, son of the planter, is engaged to Irene Lambert, the proud beauty, who values him only for his social standing and prospective inheritance. From a distance Jennie Baker, the berry-picker's daughter, has learned to love the dashing young soldier, who was never too proud to notice her when sometimes she came to his home to sell berries. On the day that he left for the war, young Frazier, in his impulsive, debonair way, leaned over in his saddle and stole a kiss from Jennie Baker. He forgot the kiss in the next few minutes, but the sweetness of his compliment lingered forever on her lips. Once during the war Hugh Frazier stole home, to visit his sweetheart, Irene. On this occasion the berry-girl was the means of saving him from capture by using his horse and overcoat as a decoy. She seemed to come as a good angel sent to watch over a brave heart; for by this time things had changed and his old home lay within the Union lines. He escaped this danger, thinking, perhaps, that Irene had been his guardian angel. That night the bushwhackers, led by Jennie Baker's rough father, attacked and burned the home of the man she loved. The faithful old negro servant, divining such an attack, had buried the family treasure and the marauders evidently burned the house out of disappointment. The attack and retreat of the bushwhackers, together with the burning of the mansion, is one of the most thrilling and realistic scenes ever seen in moving pictures. In the fire and fracas Jennie and Hugh each lost their father. Jennie lived alone therein her father's shack until Hugh came back. He made his way in tattered garments to the home of Irene, expecting to be received with gladness. Instead of that, his supposed guardian angel proved to be but a fickle goddess, whose heart had turned to stone. From her he learned that he was a pauper; that home and father were gone forever. Moreover, he found her engaged to a sardonic and prosperous Union officer, and both seemed to regard it as a good joke on Hugh Frazier. Bruised in body and .soul, he shuffled listlessly toward his old home, there to find it a bleak ruin. But there also he found the faithful Jennie, who had waited there day after day for his return. There also he found the faithful negro man-servant. From him he learned how the girl had saved his life, and then the faithful black led them to the buried treasure. The darkest hour of our lives is the hour in which to know our real friends from the fair weather kind. What wonder then that Hugh Frazier should turn to these two lowly creatures and grapple them to his heart with hooks of steel? - The Moving Picture World, August 26, 1911


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