Feature Drama | 1910 | Silent | B/W
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World War One feature.
Intertitle: "My mind is not clear all I know is that my love is dead."
Lillian Gish collapses on the floor. She is briefly nursed by a friend who leaves the room.
Intertitle: "Our musketeers is new uniforms but an old service are placed where they are sure to do their best - directly opposite their own village"
Medium shot of a trench where soldiers mill around. Close up of two soldiers, one of whom is asleep. One writes a letter and surreptitiously places a small kiss on the paper. Another older soldier sews an epaulette onto his uniform. In the background, we can see a sign for the Hotel Richelieu and two other soldiers preparing their uniforms. One cleans his nails with a file.
Intertitle: "The Hospital returns a familiar face"
Our two soldiers kiss a fellow comrade in arms .
Intertitle: "The local headquarters of the enemy's army of occupation"
Interior of drawing room of large country house. High ranking soldiers discuss strategy of maps.
Though some portions escaped damage, most of the town was destroyed."
Panning shots of badly war-damaged houses.
Intertitle: "The boy's family found refuge in the cellar."
A family carry luggage down a stairwell of a house strewn with debris. A group of people pass by sandbags stacked up on their way to the basement of a house.
Intertitle: "The girl now recovered remained at the inn. The girl looks at a photograph of a man placed on the mantelpiece. She winks and smiles and become upset briefly. To shake herself out of this passing mood, she grabs herself by the neck and shakes her head. Medium shot of Lillian Gish who stands looking at her. She carries a bundled of towels. Lillian places a memento or photograph taken off the shelf close to her chest.
Intertitle: "The intelligence service still had an active member in von Strohm".
A senior army officer alights from a car and enters a restaurant and bar saloon. Inside, we see officers eating at tables. Our officer enters and is nervously greeted by a junior officer who rises from his chair. He lifts his hand towards a waitress.
Intertitle: "War's gift to those whose path it ruthlessly crosses."
Lillian Gish attempts to lift a basket laden with potatoes onto the back of a horse-drawn truck. She appears to be very weary and pleads with her boss to have some brief respite. He threatens to flail her. He is confronted by a fellow soldier.
Intertitle: "War has made bigots of most of us but not all of us, thank God!"
Von Strohm leaves the officers' mess with an underling in tow. Two officers sit at a table talking. behind them a man plays the violin.
Intertitle: "I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that justice is the only right."
Von Strohm approaches the two men and says
Intertitle: " That is old fashioned. I say 'Might alone makes right.'
Weary and near collapse, Lillian Gish returns home and crawls to her bed. A cannon, battlefield and explosions. Two Zeppelins or barrage balloons. A very large military gun is loaded and fired. There is an explosion and the two figures are showered in mud.
Intertitle: "The boy in the fray"
A grenade is attached to a large sword and bayonet and fired at the opposing forces. Two soldiers, one wearing a sergeant's uniform, fire their rifles from a trench. A line of military guns can be viewed through a letterbox (binocular) sized mask on the camera. Medium shot of explosions. A solitary tree stands in the middle of no-man's land. Our hero confronts a number of enemy soldiers and they surrender, clambering out of their trench.
Intertitle: "Enemy prisoners"
A group of prisoners in single file are marched away.
Intertitle: "The boy interpreting for the prisoners hears news of his loved ones."
Soldiers walk behind the trenches.
Intertitle: They are both alive, Cuckoo think of it, both alive and well"
Our hero looks pensive and strokes his moustache.
Intertitle: "A small private war"
Interior of a restaurant where the girl sobs into a tablecloth. her female boss hits her. A fight ensues between the girl and another worker. The girl threatens her with a bottle.
Intertitle: "Like his hero"
A small boy walks back and forth in front of the camera, reading a book. In the background an older woman washes clothes in a large wooden tub. She is clearly old and frail. Lillian Gish does some washing.
Intertitle: "I hear that our troops are massing for a great attack. They're coming to rescue us."
The girl kisses Lillian Gish and dashes from the room. Lillian Gish takes a photograph of her lover or sweetheart, our hero, from her pocket, kisses it and hugs herself.
Intertitle: "My love my dead love, they are coming to save us. Don't you hear? A group of soldiers lie asleep. Our hero looks at a photograph of Lillian Gish while his fellow soldiers sleep. One of them is woken up by a rat. The older woman is on her deathbed. her two sons kiss her.
Intertitle: "Be brave my boys, be brave"
The youngest boy kisses her and starts crying. All three get down on their hands and knees beside the bed.
Intertitle: "A fortunate meeting gives the girl something to live for."
The young boys meet up with Lillian Gish. Kisses and hugs are shared all round.
Intertitle: "The main line is visited by von Strohm"
Von Strohm and his underling alight from a car in no-man's land.
Intertitle: "After daring to bring them a little food and much love"
Lillian Gish embraces the youngest child in the bombed out wreckage of the house.
Intertitle: "In an enemy uniform, the boy now an officer goes on a daring mission".
Two soldiers in a trench prepare to leave each other's company.
Intertitle: "A man may die only once for his country and I have no fear of death. The two men shake hands.
Intertitle: "Under cover of dark and rain, the boy reaches the enemy lines. Our hero crawls towards the sandbags near enemy lines. He drops down into the enemy's trenches. he is discovered and is chased by two soldiers.
Intertitle: "After two days and nights in a shell hole, he gives the awaited signal."
Our hero pulls out a flare gun and gives the signal. He quickly vacates the shell hole. Lillian Gish appears in a hallway and lights a gas lamp. She opens a door to another room and enters. The room is filled with light from the lamp.
Intertitle: "Finding his mess closed, von Strohm arrives at a door. Lillian frantically cuts off slices of meat from a large beef roast on a table.
Intertitle: "Food for the Children!"
close up of a large knife carving the roast. Von Strohm is seen outside a doorway.
Intertitle: "Try the back door, sir"
As Lillian Gish leaves the room, von Strohm passes through a gate and enters his quarters. Gish and von Strohm pass in the corridor. Backing nervously into her room, carrying a bag with the stolen meat, Gish is pursued by von Strohm.
"Oh ha! It is my little girl with the pretty ankles who once slammed the door in my face".
Von Strohm starts to take off his gloves.
Intertitle: "The boy unable to return to his own lines reaches the village".
The boy is challenged by a soldier with a large bayonet on his rifle. The boy discovers the sentry is smoking and reprimands him. Von Strohm discovers the meat hidden in Lillian's bag. Lillian is pursued out of her room by von Strohm. They pass through the officers' mess. Von Strohm locks the door and starts to remove his clothes. He picks up a wine bottle. Close up of Gish trying to rouse one of the officers from a drunken slumber. The man is clearly blind. Gish is cornered by von Strohm. He becomes angry when she rejects his advances. He finds a bottle of wine, smashes it and drinks from the remainder of the container. Gish, her back turned towards von Strohm, clings to the wall.
Intertitle: "Crouched, ready to rescue their village!"
Excellent battle sequences with foot soldiers going over the top, leaving their trenches. Good long shot of soldiers running from their trenches across no man's land. Soldiers scurry and run to avoid the explosions which happen around them. Von Strohm still traps Gish. Close ups of both characters' faces. Gish refuses to give in to von Strohm. Interior shot of army headquarters where senior ranking officers shake hands. Von Strohm by now very drunk falls on to the floor. Excellent close up of Lillian Gish with blind panic on her face. Gish is chased around the officers' mess and in vain the blind man attempts to protect her. Griffiths employs a variety of shots marching medium shots and close ups in a rhythmic pattern to build up the tension as the struggle intensifies. An army car pulls up outside the officers' mess and abandons Gish, weak and weary from the stress returns to her room where she collapses in her chair.
Intertitle: "The advance begins."
Long shot of cannons ready to be fired.
Intertitle: "And nearer"
Long shot of soldiers dashing over no-man's land. Waves of soldiers storm the enemy positions as explosions rain down on them. As the fighting gets closer some of the women prepare to leave. The boy, now well behind enemy lines stumbles on the damaged entrance of the officers' mess. Lillian Gish and the boy, now a fully developed man, are reunited. They embrace. Von Strohm returns to the officers' mess. Lillian's friend sees the couple together. The boy says:
Intertitle: "If they see you, it means death"
Lillian's friend comes out of the house and is delighted to see them together. Von Strohm is suddenly sitting in the garden ( a break in the narrative has occurred her, not uncommon in his films). Lillian and her lover hide in her room. He collapses on to the bed sick and they are both discovered by a German soldier. Lillian clearly offers her hand in friendship, which he suspiciously accepts. Despite this, the boy is discovered.
Intertitle: "You are my prisoner"
A struggle ensues and Lillian Gish stabs the soldier in the back. We see a long shot of a bomb-damaged street. A soldier turns around quickly. The wounded German stumbles from the scullery. Lillian and the boy give each other courage. They leave the building. In an attic room they share the food Lillian has managed to hide. The boy tears into the sandwich, clearly starved. The injured German officer tries but fails to raise himself up. Von Strohm drinks some beer at a table in the officer's mess. Lillian's friend looks on, glowering, at him.
Intertitle; "Meanwhile our heroes a little nearer."
Brief shot of a line of soldiers advancing, over rough terrain.
Intertitle: "Enemy trenches"
A shell explodes in a trench. German soldiers are overpowered by the bravery of enemy soldiers. Useful shot of machine gunners being killed in their dug out.
Intertitle: They see again their own village."
As the battle rages, our couple sit together hand in hand in the attic of the bombed out officers' mess.
Intertitle: "They pledge themselves to meet death as man and wife"
Our injured soldier bursts into the officers' mess and dies in front of von Strohm. He removes his gun from his holster and goes in pursuit of his killer.
Intertitle: "Only one more trench".
Good shot of trench with soldiers going over the top and engaging with German soldiers.
Intertitle: "The enemy's counterattack overwhelms the trench"
Brief interlude where German soldiers gain the upper hand.
Intertitle: "The Reserves"
Brief shot of hand to hand fighting with some soldiers being stabbed ferociously with bayonets. senior officers search the officers mess.
Intertitle: "With renewed determination, the enemy are once more routed".
The boy hears German soldiers approaching. Lillian goes out to look and the door shuts fast behind her. Meanwhile, the boy is confronted by a soldier. A fight ensues. Von Strohm finds Lillian beating on the door.
Intertitle: "The spy! Where is he?"
Von Strohm attempts to strangle an answer out of Lillian. The boy overcomes his foe and manages to release Lillian. general mayhem ensues. As the battle enters the city, we see first an explosion in the street then a series of two explosions which blast out the doors of the officers mess, an impressive stunt for the time. Soldiers overrun the city. The injured soldier is carried out of the building down a set of steps. A very brief shot of a military gun being fired which appears to be real has been inserted here. Interior of a church where a large number of civilians have gathered. They hold up their arms praying for help. A woman breast feed her baby. Lillian and the boy are trapped behind a door. Von Strohm remains outside.
Intertitle: "You must surely die - take me with you! Do not leave me here to worse than death!"
Another brief shot of a real cannon being fired, this time located in the rubble of a building. Close up on von Strohm's eyes. Von Strohm attempts to break down the door with a rifle butt. Brief shot of cannon being fired above inserted again. Lillian's friend throws a hand grenade at the soldiers attempting to get into the house. Von Strohm is shot.
Intertitle: "The last defense"
Another shot of a real cannon is inserted here. As the city is overrun, we see a shot of the three boys. Lillian's friend and her soldier lover are reunited. Lillian and the boy escape into the arms of the liberating troops. The people in the church celebrate. The young boys are reunited with their father, who finds out about the death of his mother.
Intertitle: "Happy times"
General scenes of merriment as the lovers share a meal. Good shot of Lillian with her husband (the boy)
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