6.7/10
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Hearts of the World (1918)

TV-PG | | Drama, War | June 1918 (UK)
Young lovers in a French village are torn apart with the coming of the Great War.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

D.W. Griffith (English translation) (as Capt. Victor Marier), D.W. Griffith (scenario) (as M. Gaston de Tolignac)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adolph Lestina Adolph Lestina ... The Grandfather
Josephine Crowell ... The Mother
Lillian Gish ... The Girl - Marie Stephenson
Robert Harron ... The Boy - Douglas Gordon Hamilton
Jack Cosgrave Jack Cosgrave ... The Father of the Boy
Kate Bruce ... The Mother of the Boy
Ben Alexander ... The Boy's Littlest Brother
Marion Emmons Marion Emmons ... The Boy's Other Brother (as M. Emmons)
Francis Marion Francis Marion ... The Boy's Other Brother (as F. Marion)
Dorothy Gish ... The Little Disturber
Robert Anderson ... Monsieur Cuckoo
George Fawcett ... The Village Carpenter
George Siegmann ... Von Strohm
Fay Holderness Fay Holderness ... The Innkeeper
L. Lowry L. Lowry ... A Deaf and Blind Musician
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Storyline

A group of youngsters grow up and love in a peaceful French village. But war intrudes and peace is shattered. The German army invades and occupies village, bringing both destruction and torture. The young people of the village resist, some successfully, others tragically, until French troops retake the town. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A ROMANCE OF THE GREAT WAR (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1918 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Love's Struggle See more »

Filming Locations:

Surrey, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

D.W. Griffith (I) bought footage of the German army from an Austrian-American officer named Kleinschmit, who had been arrested in the US for espionage, and incorporated the footage into this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

An expanded version, "Peace Edition", was released after the end of World War I. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Greatest Thing in Life (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If Time could turn back
29 May 2015 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

Lillian Gish is one major reason I want a time travel machine.

She was one of the loveliest women ever photographed; and she was a marvelous actress.

"Hearts of the World" is a major production, with some astonishing, especially for 1918, technical achievements.

Other reviewers have mentioned Billy Bitzer's photography, and every mention that can be made should be made: Magnificent!

Griffith's direction, overall, is also magnificent, but there are times the camera angle changes result in choppiness; perhaps, though, that is an editing fault more than one of directing.

Acting overall is superb; the story is heart-rending; the anti-war feeling engendered is urgent.

Ironically, supposedly the movie was made at the behest of the Brits, trying to propagandize these United States into joining the war. Yet Griffith still managed to portray the horrors of war, with a not exactly subliminal message against those horrors.

Lillian Gish said, "I don't believe that Mr. Griffith ever forgave himself for making 'Hearts of the World.' 'War is the villain,' he repeated, 'not any particular people.'"

"War's gift to the common people," reads one intertitle, as the people of the French village are told to evacuate.

The Girl, who was supposed to be marrying The Boy on this day, hurries to try to save her wedding ensemble.

"In the little room where she had dreamed so many dreams, she puts her sweetest one away," says the intertitle, while she tries to hide away her wedding gown. She is one of those "common people" who are allowed to exist only as cogs in the great machinery of the state, for the state, not for their own purposes.

Human lives matter not at all, not even lives of the civilians not, supposedly, actively engaged in the conflict.

All that matters is the state, the government, and such ephemera as national pride. More solid, but still meaningless, entities as national boundaries count for more than mere human beings.

D.W. Griffith was the son of a war hero, Roaring Jake Griffith, who, after being wounded, still led a charge against the invading Yankees -- driving a wagon!

Yet David Wark Griffith opposed war's horrors and demonstrated that opposition in several movies, including "Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance."

In some ways, "Hearts of the World" is his biggest achievement even though it is little known today.

There are some few versions at YouTube.com, but the first one on the list has no music, the second has a score that is sometimes inappropriate. But both are pretty good prints. "Hearts of the World" is a must see, for its own self, and for your own self as a movie historian or as a movie scholar or as a movie fan.


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