Albert Dieudonné is the scion of a family of mill-owners in Alsace. When Mama Gabrielle Réjane annoys the aoes by singing "Le Marseillaise", she and her husband are kicked out of the country. Albert is left to manage the mill. He soon falls in love with German Francesca Flory, Mama shows up to forbid the marriage. However, when Albert falls ill, she changes her mind to save her boy. After that, the women fight: Flory for her husband and Réjane for France.
France had owned Alsace for about eighty years when they lost it in the Franco-Prussian War, and they didn't like it. Auguste Scheurer-Kestner, an Alsatian who was in the French legislature used to get up in debate and lead off his speeches with the pitiful cry that he was the last Alsatian in that body. This was an effective preamble to any speech, until he wound up opposing the Army during the Dreyfus Affair. So far as the French were concerned, Alsace had always been French and would always be French, no matter how many uniform-wearing, beer-drinking Germans stomped around the place acting like Erich von Stroheim in a foul mood.
In reality, most of the province spoke German.
Madame Réjane's presence in this propaganda piece was a coup, but a century later she seems like a bad piece of work. At the time, the French audience must have thought she was superb and righteous.
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