- 1h 25m
A movie with a message that no one listened to.
Believe it or not this movie was supposed to keep America out of WW1. Bankrolled by a pacifist organisation this movie was produced and at least partially directed by Thomas Ince, who is famous for producing many of William S. Hart's westerns. The king of a small European country declares war on a neighbouring land. The fact that the agressors dress like the Kaiser's German troops was lost on no one back then I am sure. Count Ferdinand invents a new type of submarine which is used to destroy ships carrying arms and supplies to enemy soldiers. He refuses to fire on lifeboats carrying innocent passengers though and sinks his own sub. This is where things go slightly out of hand. Sent to the Underworld (where the dead souls are all nude, regrettably they are also all male) he meets Jesus himself who decides the time is right to return to Earth to remind people to live in peace. Taking over Count Ferdinand's body the poor guy is almost crucified a second time before showing the King the horrors of war that he has overlooked while being safe in his palace. Alas the message of this film did not reach audiences the way it was supposed to; a year later America entered the war anyway. Many young men learned the hard way that the terrors depicted in the movie were right on the money. D.W. Griffith made an anti-war film called HEARTS OF THE WORLD but it was in release for only about 2 months when the war ended. Cecil B. DeMille got into the act too when he cast Mary Pickford as THE LITTLE AMERICAN in 1921. Thomas Ince wisely went back to doing westerns. If you want to see a silent film with a really effective anti-war message check out King Vidor's THE BIG PARADE (1924).
- Jul 3, 2001
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