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The Little American (1917) HD online

The Little American (1917) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama / Romance / War
Original Title: The Little American
Director: Cecil B. DeMille,Joseph Levering
Writers: Jeanie Macpherson
Released: 1917
Budget: $166,949
Duration: 1h 20min
Video type: Movie
German-American Karl and French-American Jules are in love with Angela when each returns to his country as war breaks out. She sails for France and while there is nearly raped by Karl as the Germans invade. She is later arrested for sending secret messages to Jules but Karl defends her. Both are saved from execution by the arrival of the French forces and Count Jules
Complete credited cast:
Mary Pickford Mary Pickford - Angela Moore
Jack Holt Jack Holt - Karl von Austreim
Raymond Hatton Raymond Hatton - Count Jules de Destin
Hobart Bosworth Hobart Bosworth - German Colonel
Walter Long Walter Long - German Captain
James Neill James Neill - Senator John Moore
Ben Alexander Ben Alexander - Bobby Moore
Guy Oliver Guy Oliver - Frederick von Austreim
Edythe Chapman Edythe Chapman - Mrs. von Austreim
Lillian Leighton Lillian Leighton - Angela's Great Aunt
DeWitt Jennings DeWitt Jennings - English Barrister

Film debut of Ramon Novarro.



Reviews: [12]

  • avatar

    Dishadel

    When the US entered World War I, the government forced Hollywood to churn out propaganda films. THE LITTLE American is probably the best of the lot because it stars Mary Pickford.

    Pickford plays a young woman torn between two men: Jack Holt (German) and Raymond Hatton (French), but her decision is delayed because of the war as both men enlist.

    When the ship Pickford is sailing on is sunk by the Germans (think Lusitania) because it is carrying munitions, Pickford has a great scene as she stands on the lifeboat and yells at the German commander. Later on, of course, she runs into both Holt and Hatton when she is being held as a war prisoner at a château.

    Director Cecil B. DeMille provides one truly great scene in this film as Pickford and Holt are wandering through a bombed-out village. They pass a destroyed church of which only one wall remains standing. Against the wall is a very large crucifix. As they stand and watch, the wall collapses but the Jesus figure remains, suspended in mid air. It's a very surreal moment in a film that is otherwise very straightforward and un-artsy.

    Pickford is, as always, a pleasure to watch. She was always a very natural actress who avoided the arm-waving histrionics many other actors of the day used. She's also very very pretty. Holt is very good here in a leading-man role. Hatton is OK. Among the list of name actors in "extra" parts are Wallace Beery, Ramon Novarro, Colleen Moore, Ben Alexander, Hobart Bosworth, Norman Kerry, Walter Long, James Neill, and Edythe Chapman.

    Not a great film, but interesting to see US propaganda at work.
  • avatar

    Ffel

    In its own time, this effective and often compelling wartime melodrama used the talents of Mary Pickford and a young Cecil B. DeMille in support of the Allies in the first world war. It works well in itself, and it might be even more worthwhile now, for a generation that can view the events of that era more impartially, in order to draw some broader lessons from it.

    Pickford plays Angela, "The Little American", a young woman courted by a German and a Frenchman who are both living in America. This familiar setup soon becomes much more serious when the war breaks out, and the two young men return to Europe and the battlefield, with Pickford's character soon joining them in the midst of the turmoil and terror of the conflict. The ensuing story occasionally has some points in common with the Valentino/Rex Ingram classic "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", though with a generally more hopeful tone.

    The first half has a particularly excellent sequence that depicts a submarine attacking a passenger liner. It works very well both dramatically and thematically. In particular, the light and motion of the sub's searchlight darting erratically through the darkness, so that its crew can survey the results of their attack, produces a chilling effect that is probably more effective than any amount of screaming could have been. The sequence works convincingly in portraying the barbarous, inhuman nature of attacks on civilian targets, and it also demonstrates the emptiness of the excuses used to justify them.

    That is probably the strongest sequence, but the main story in the château also has some worthwhile material. The German soldiers are largely portrayed as subhuman, but this is balanced to a large degree by the character of Karl (Jack Holt) and his inner struggle between his sense of duty and his sense of justice. Holt and Pickford work well together, and Raymond Hatton, though not getting as much screen time, also makes good use of his opportunities.

    With the delightful Pickford as the star, and DeMille already showing his ability to film set pieces effectively, this must have been very persuasive in its original purpose of strengthening support for the Allied cause. But now it can serve a different, and possibly more important, purpose. The harrowing experiences of Angela and the other characters are effective in demonstrating how quickly the fabric of human society can tear apart when military victory becomes all-important. While less ambitious and less well-known than the best-known of the classic movies that came out of the first world war, "The Little American" works well, and it is well worth the time to watch.
  • avatar

    MarF

    Canadian-born Mary Pickford played the title role in this war melodrama under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille. They worked together on only two projects, and although Miss Pickford spoke of DeMille with respect in later years, she did not recall their collaboration or the resulting films with much fondness. I don't know why Mary didn't like working with DeMille, but I would hazard a guess it was because they were both larger-than-life personalities with egos to match, and very specific ideas about how to make movies. Certainly the films they made together feature the top production values we expect from them both, based on the career standards each would maintain, including first-rate cinematography and art design, Hollywood's best character actors in colorful supporting roles, etc.

    I don't know why Mary didn't like this particular film, either, but I can hazard a second guess. The Little American was made just after the U.S. entered the Great War, during the first flush of near-hysterical nationalist fervor that swept the nation, and it reflects that mood in ways that don't wear well in retrospect. This movie was designed to be propaganda of the red meat variety, meant to whip up feelings of righteous outrage. Here there is no room for political background, perspective, or dispassionate consideration of other points of view; in short, no room for reason. The Germans are merciless brutes, period. All they understand is force, period. Perhaps, with the passage of time, Miss Pickford wasn't comfortable with this absolutism, or with the super-charged passion of the storytelling on display here. Today we can look back at this film and its siblings (such as D. W. Griffith's Hearts of the World) with historical curiosity and the distance afforded by hindsight, but, despite the passage of some ninety years, many viewers will find these movies painful to watch today, not only because of the ugly experiences depicted or the ugly feelings they stir, but because of our awareness of the very real impact this sort of propaganda had on contemporary viewers. Audiences of 1917 cheered for Mary and the Allied troops, gasped at German atrocities, and cursed those dirty Huns. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that some young men who saw this film may have found in it the inspiration to enlist, and who knows what happened to them after that. It's no wonder the star had little affection for this project.

    The film tells the story of a young American woman named Angela Moore -- born on the Fourth of July, no less -- who is courted by a Frenchman and a German, although she is decidedly more fond of her German suitor, Karl. When war breaks out her suitors, naturally, wind up on opposite sides of the conflict. Meanwhile Angela attempts to sail to France at the invitation of her invalid aunt, but her ship (here called the "Veritania") is torpedoed by a German submarine and she narrowly escapes with her life. This harrowing sequence was obviously based on the destruction of the Lusitania less than two years earlier, and surely must have hit a raw nerve in many viewers when the film was first released. The German sub commander and his crew, surfacing to observe their handiwork, flash searchlights on the sinking ship and look on coldly as Angela and her fellow passengers tumble off the tilted deck and plummet into the water, making no effort to assist.

    Angela reaches shore and finds her way to her aunt's château, but discovers that the old lady has died and that the house and its grounds are at the center of a pitched battle for territory between the French and the Germans. Perhaps it goes without saying that she encounters both of her former suitors under very different circumstances and is torn between them, although her political sympathies are fully with the Allied cause. Angela allows the French to turn her house into a makeshift hospital. Despite the danger she remains on the scene when the château is overrun and commandeered by the Germans. They regard her as little more than a galley servant, and in one painful scene she is compelled to kneel before a German general and pull off his muddy boots. (But Angela gets off easy next to the household staff of chambermaids, who are gang raped; an event that mercifully occurs off-camera.) Angela is nothing if not determined, however, and she risks her life to send surreptitious messages to the French. For awhile it appears that her onetime lover Karl has turned into a beast no better than his comrades, drunkenly attacking Angela in a darkened room before he recognizes her. Ultimately, however, at Angela's behest, he denounces the Kaiser's cause, defies his commanding officers, and throws in his lot with the Allies. After more suspenseful adventures the duo escape together, and when Karl is captured by French troops, Angela is able to get him a reprieve.

    Not so surprisingly, the film's original ending upset contemporary audiences. After such graphic demonstrations of German depravity it didn't seem right that Mary would wind up with a German lover, even a "reformed" one. An alternate ending was filmed in which she winds up with the Frenchman instead, but it appears that this footage has not survived.

    The Little American is a fascinating record of a grim chapter in world history, but it's a difficult viewing experience. I'm a silent film buff and historically-minded, and yet I felt queasy and depressed by the time it was over. I couldn't help but recall that this sort of incendiary propaganda was so prevalent during the Great War that it caused Americans to be skeptical twenty years later when stories of Nazi atrocities began to reach these shores. DeMille, Pickford, Griffith, and their Hollywood colleagues harnessed the cinema in the service of militant nationalism, and the techniques they pioneered have been refined into ever-more sophisticated forms ever since. Not a happy thought, is it?
  • avatar

    Cozius

    This film is blatantly an anti-German propaganda film to which audiences flocked because America declared war on Germany a few months before its release. It's very effective even today, as I found myself despising the Germans for their actions, which included killing civilians and raping some women. Mary Pickford plays the title character, uncharacteristically a grown woman instead of a child she played in most of her films during the silent era. She is wooed by German-American Jack Holt and French-American Raymond Hatton when war breaks out in 1914. The Germans are depicted as being overly brutal.

    There was one scene that made me laugh, when the Germans break the door down to enter her aunt's home. Mary tells them in deadly ernest while waving a small American flag, "Gentlemen - you are breaking into the home of an American citizen - I must ask you to leave." The Germans, led by Walter Long, roared with laughter too. I couldn't decide if it was comic relief or if you were suppose to sympathize with Mary.

    I rather enjoyed the film for what it was. It was paced well by DeMille and the acting was fine but typical of early silents. Walter Long made a good heavy - he can sneer with the best of them.

    You may notice in the cast list some famous names (Wallace Beery, Ramon Novarro, etc.) without character names. You never actually see these actors, but they are known to have been in the film from various writings, including DeMille's autobiography.
  • avatar

    Ustamya

    Mary Pickford ("Born on the Fourth of July" as Angela Moore) is "The Little American" (of French heritage); she falls in love with Jack Holt (as Karl Von Austreim), who had moved to America with his German father and American mother. French-American Raymond Hatton (as Count Jules de Destin of the "Fighting Destins") has fallen in love with Ms. Pickford. The love triangled threesome eventually wind up in France, with the Great War (World War I, in hindsight) complicating their lives considerably.

    A mostly entertaining, if propagandistically flawed, Cecil B. DeMille film. The torpedoing, and sinking, of a ship carrying Pickford is "Titanic"-like. The war intrigue gets dramatic as Pickford slowly becomes an undercover spy for France, while the Germans occupy her ancestral home. Of course, German lover Holt arrives. It was difficult to believe they took so long to recognize each other as he moved in for the rape, but it was dark; and, prior events had them believe each other dead. The film goes WAY over-the-top in its symbolism. Pickford was, by the way, Canadian - though, few could deny she wasn't a "Little American", for all intents and purposes.

    FUN to spot "extras" who later became major stars include Wallace Beery, Colleen Moore, and Ramon Novarro - especially, watch for Mr. Novarro exhibiting "star" quality during one of the film's more memorable sequences: Pickford and the wounded soldier saluting each other as he is taken by her on a stretcher. Novarro even gets Mary Pickford to write a letter for him; obviously, he's got a future in pictures. Also future-bound is Ben Alexander, who plays the boy "Bobby"; he becomes a dependable child actor, and grows up to become a Jack Webb partner on "Dragnet".

    ******* The Little American (7/12/17) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Mary Pickford, Jack Holt, Raymond Hatton
  • avatar

    Vivados

    With the US having recently entered the First World War, the country's best known and most popular director teamed with its most beloved actress to fire a cinematic salvo in this flag-waving adventure.

    In style this is something of a departure for DeMille. He more or less abandons his use of long takes, painterly shot compositions and predominantly visual narrative, in favour of rapid editing and lots of expository intertitles. Of course this is purely pragmatic – it keeps the story moving along quickly and injects some excitement and tension into what is after all a propaganda piece. The heavier than usual use of intertitles also leaves no ambiguity about plot or character intention. Some of these editing patterns are quite effective – for example, the crosscutting used when the ocean liner is torpedoed. However fans of DeMille's early silents will probably find themselves missing the more considered approach they will be familiar with. This is certainly one of his least graceful films.

    The fact that The Little American is more action-centred means it is less acting centred – there is not the same concentration on performance that you normally get with DeMille. For this reason this is not a particularly memorable role for Mary Pickford, and to be fair almost any actress could have played the part equally well. However the casting of Pickford would have been symbolic and psychologically effective at the time. Although the press had not yet labelled her America's sweetheart, she certainly occupied that position. Therefore DeMille did not have to go out of his way to endear the audience to the character of Angela Moore, because they had already formed an emotional attachment to Mary Pickford.

    Regardless of how effective this picture was in its day it is really quite a mediocre effort when taken out of context. One interesting point though – the one scene in The Little American that really looks like the typical DeMille is the one in which Pickford and Holt take refuge in a ruined church below the effigy of Christ on the cross. Throughout the picture the stars and stripes is treated with the same reverence and significance DeMille might give to a crucifix. This picture is another small step towards the iconic imagery and preachiness that would characterise his work from the twenties onwards.
  • avatar

    Gralsa

    According to his autobiography The Little American is the film that Cecil B. DeMille wanted to make with Mary Pickford. Both were strong supporters of the Allied cause in World War I. But Adolph Zukor wanted a box office draw with a western so A Romance Of The Redwoods was done first. DeMille envisioned The Little American as part of his contribution to the propaganda war effort. And Pickford was well known for her bond tours with her husband Douglas Fairbanks.

    The Little American has Mary Pickford a daughter of the a US Senator and being courted by two men, German-American Jack Holt who receives orders to return to the Fatherland for an officer's commission in the newly declared war and French diplomat Raymond Hatton similarly ordered home. Pickford's family has a château in France and she travels there to be a nurse. But her ocean liner is torpedoed like the Lusitania and she eventually gets there.

    But as it turns out the château is in German occupied territory and she's asked to do a little espionage. And who do you think is among the Germans occupying, none other than Holt.

    As this was a film that DeMille himself labels a contribution to the war effort a lot of it can be dismissed. Pickford was her heroic best as The Little American. Some aspects of the real life Edith Cavell story are incorporated here with a lot more happy ending.

    As for the German atrocities. They'd have to wait until the next war when Hollywood couldn't make up what they did in real life.
  • avatar

    Sarin

    You'd think after over 90 years have passed, this little WWI propaganda would be rendered a creaky, laughable history piece. The Little American, however, remains a powerful work of melodrama, mainly due to the talents of its star, Mary Pickford.

    Pickford plays Angela Moore, the titular 'Little American', who's the center of a love triangle between a German-American (Jack Holt) and a French-American (Raymond Hatton). WWI breaks out, however, and Angela's suitors are called back to their home countries to serve in their nation's respective armies. Shortly after, Angela leaves for France to visit an aunt, but while en route a German U-boat sinks the ship she's on. She manages to survive though, and makes it to her destination only to discover her aunt has passed and the Germans are close to occupying the town. Being the plucky, kind-hearted gal she is, Angela houses wounded French soldiers in her newly inherited château and even acts as a spy for the French army. Things become even more complex when the Germans occupy the house and Angela encounters her old German beau, who almost forces himself upon her before realizing who she is. He becomes torn by love and duty, but willingly submits to the former once Angela is found out as a spy.

    Mary Pickford is a joy to watch. She takes a typical plucky young woman role and plays it with such charm that you just fall in love with her. Her style is naturalistic, making her stand out from most other early silent film actors, who tended to utilize broad, exaggerated gestures from the stage. This is the first time I've seen her acting, and I'm definitely planning on seeing more of her work in the future.

    Unlike Mary's acting, the story itself rarely utilizes subtlety. Angela's patriotic fervor is made obvious from the beginning: she was born on the Fourth of July, and carries a small American flag around with her throughout the majority of the picture. Later on, when Pickford and Hoft caught in the crossfire of a battle, they find refuge beneath a large crucifix, which manages to remain standing even as the rest of the church it was in crumbles to nothing. As is to be expected of propaganda, aside from Pickford's German lover, the Germans are depicted as heartless monsters who rape, murder, and kick puppies at the slightest whim. Due to the charm of Pickford and the great chemistry her character shares with Hoft's, you truly grow to despise the "Huns" as the film progresses; it's mind-blowing to think that during the picture's first release that aspect must have been a great driving force in getting men to run out and sign up for the war.

    If you're a silent buff, Pickford fan, or interested in WWI, then you should definitely give The Little American a look. It's a well-crafted piece of propaganda sporting not also historical value but a decent story and the charismatic presence of America's Sweetheart.
  • avatar

    Datrim

    "The Little American" is of course "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford. Produced and directed by Cecil B. De Mille, it tells the story of Angela Moore (Pickford) and her relationships with German-American Karl Von Austriem (Jack Holt) and French-American Count Jules de Destin (Raymond Hatton) during World War I. In a real propaganda move, there's an opening shot of Pickford standing before the American flag and giving the salute while smiling and winking at the audience. Pure De Mille.

    Prior to the outbreak of the war, both men are courting Angela with Austriem having the evident upper hand. Then, war is declared and Austriem and de Destin go off to Europe to join their respective country's forces.

    Angela, to be near the man she loves decides to sail for France however, en route her ship the Veritania (read: Lusitania) is sunk by a German submarine (in a sequence using less than convincing miniatures). Austrien receives a letter telling him that Angela is sailing to France on the doomed ship. Distraught, Austriem becomes one of the barbaric German soldiers drinking and carousing their way across France. De Destin meanwhile is wounded and loses an arm.

    Angela survives the sinking of the Veritania and goes to the château of her aunt who has conveniently just died making Angela the new owner. She turns the château into a hospital for wounded French soldiers and decides not to flee the oncoming Germans, to nurse the wounded.

    Before leaving the château, the French place a secret telephone from which the army can be alerted as to the location of the German guns. The Germans move in to the château and ravage the place, having their way with the female servants. With them is Austriem who in a drunken stupor tries to rape Angela in a darkened room before discovering that it is Angela and she is alive.

    Angela meanwhile is telephoning information to de Destin regarding the placements of German guns. She is subsequently arrested and despite Austriem's intervention on her behalf, both get sentenced to die. Just as they are about to be shot............................

    Evidently their were two versions of this film produced. I assume the original version was completed before America's entrance into the war in 1917. In that version, available in the DVD set: "Cecil B. De Mille: The Classics Collection" Angela with the help of de Destin, secures Austriem's release as a prisoner of war and returns home with him. In the version described in Ringgold & Bodeen's "The Films of Cecil B. De Mille", Austriem dies and she returns to America with de Destin, Obviously, little Mary couldn't be seen fraternizing with the enemy, hence the second version.

    Pickford was now Hollywood's first superstar and was commanding a salary of $10,000 per week. It was around this time that she married male superstar Douglas Fairbanks. The two would soon form United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith and produce their own films.

    Also in the film in various smaller roles are Hobart Bosworth, Walter Long and Wallace Beery as German soldiers, Colleen Moore as one of the château maids and Ramon Novarro as a wounded French soldier.

    De Mille's last film with Ms. Pickford.
  • avatar

    Bandiri

    (SPOILERS IN FIRST PARAGRAPH) This movie's anti-German sentiment seems painfully dated now, but it's a brilliant example of great war-time propaganda. It was made back when Cecil B. DeMille was still a great director. (Ignore all his later Best Picture Academy Awards; he never made a very good sound film.) This movie lacks the comedy of most of Pickford's other films, and really it was DeMille's movie, not Pickford's. The vilification of the Germans can be compared to the way "The Patriot" of 2000 did the same to the British. The only good German in the film was a reluctant villain who had the ironic name of Austreheim. They even had Pickford take an ill-fated trip on a luxury ship that gets torpedoed by a German submarine. So what'll get the Americans more stirred up to war? The sinking of the Lusitania, or watching America's favorite Canadian import sinking in it? All throughout the film DeMille runs his protagonist from one kind of horrible calamity to another, barely escaping death, hypothermia, depravity, rape, execution, and explosions that go off in just the right place to keep her unharmed. The way she is saved from a firing squad is no more believable than the way the humans in "Jurassic Park" were ultimately rescued from the velociraptors. If I was any more gullible to such propaganda I would punish myself for having a part-German ancestry.

    Was it a good film? Aside from a humorous running gag about Americans abroad thinking they're untouchable – that was apparently a joke even back then – you might not be entertained. You'll find it more than a little melodramatic, and obviously one-sided, but the first thing that came to my mind after watching it is that it was years before Potemkin's false portrayal of a massacre revolutionized the language of cinema as well as a movie's potential for propaganda. It made me wonder: what became of Cecil B. DeMille? Somewhere between the advent of sound and "The Greatest Show on Earth" he seemed to lose his ambition. Ben Hur looked expensive, but not ambitious. In a sentence, this movie is for 1) Film historians, 2) Silent Film Buffs, 3) Mary Pickford fans, or 4) DeMille fans, if such a person exists.
  • avatar

    Nuadazius

    Little American, The (1917)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Cecil B. DeMille would eventually become known for his over the top films but I guess you can follow this type of film-making back to 1917 and this picture. The film starts off in America where Angela Moore (Mary Pickford) is being courted by both a German (Jack Holt) and a Frenchman (Raymond Hatton). When WW1 breaks out both men head off to fight for their different countries and soon Mary, now in France, comes under attack by German troops and Holt will have to decide to save her or stand up for his evil country. This film is so over the top in its patriotism that at times it becomes quite laughable. At the start of the film, when Pickford's character is introduced, we learn that she was born on the Fourth of July. When we first see her there's a big American flag waving behind her as she gives that lovely smile towards the camera. Overall this film is a mixed bag full of some great stuff but also containing a lot of weak stuff. The good stuff includes a strong performance by both Pickford and Holt who settle into their roles quite well. Apparently Pickford hated working for DeMille but that doesn't really show as she delivers her strong performance. The battle scenes, for the most part, are pretty good as well. The most interesting aspect of the film is how they show the evils being done by the German's at the time and this includes showing them raping some women as well as killing elderly men. The weak stuff is all the propaganda running throughout the film. I know this was common for the day but this film takes it to a whole new level. Another silly sequence is when Pickford's U-Boat is hit by a German torpedo. The special effects here are so bad that you can tell the boat seems to be a plastic one floating in a tub. The scenes towards the end where Pickford runs into Jesus on the cross doesn't contain the magic that DeMille was going for either. In the end, this is a mixed bag but fans of DeMille and Pickford would probably want to check it out but D.W. Griffith's Hearts of the World is much better.
  • avatar

    Bladebringer

    Canadian actress Mary Pickford plays lead in "The Little American"--one of the most blatant examples of anti-German propaganda made during WWI.

    The film begins with Mary being courted by a German guy (Jack Holt). However, before they can marry, he's called back to serve in the German army, as WWI has just begun (incidentally, the US stayed out of the war for more than 2 1/2 years). Shortly after this, Mary is called to France, as a rich relative has requested she come there. On the way, the passenger ship she is on is torpedoed--much like the famous Lusitania case (her ship is called the 'Veritania'--subtle, huh?). It's ridiculous today to see German soldiers (including Holt) toasting to the sinking of a passenger ship, but back in 1917, the public ate this up and believed it to be true (now we know these accounts were fabricated by the British government).

    Despite her boat being torpedoed, plucky Mary makes it to France where she learns that she's just inherited the Aunt's estate. However, soon the Germans come and attack her in her new home. Despite telling them she's an American (who were at the time Neutral), they attack with the ferocity of hungry dogs going after a pork chop! Now the Germans occupy her home and the Germans ignore her pleas to spare the French civilians. Instead, she's made a virtual slave in her own home--waiting on the Germans as they destroy her home. In one of those coincidences that can only happen in a movie, Holt is naturally there as well but does nothing to help her or her new people. In the meantime, the Germans start executing civilians and behaving horribly.

    As a result of the German atrocities, Mary feels she has no choice but to aid the French army--directing fire upon her estate. She knows it might mean death for her, but she is now committed to the Allied cause. When she is captured, "America's Sweetheart" (a title bestowed on the actress) is threatened with execution!! At this point, Holt announces he'd rather die with her than serve the accursed Kaiser! But, in a scene once again only found in movies, the two are saved at the instant before the Germans open fire on them!! The final scenes show the Germans reducing a church to rubble all around a lone crucifix! Wow, subtle it ain't!! At the time this was made, I am sure it was super-effective in galvanizing people behind the Allied war effort. Even though in 1916 almost all Americans were in favor of continued neutrality, by April 1917 (when the US entered the war), Americans went war-crazy--eating up films like this, growing Victory Gardens, volunteering to fight, beating up German-Americans and getting jobs in munitions plants. All this for a war that had no real good guys or bad guys--just millions and millions dead. Because this movie made this seem GOOD, it left me a bit unsettled. However, it is well made and effective.