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Civilization (1915)

Christ takes on the form of a pacifist count to end a senseless war.
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Howard Hickman ... Count Ferdinand (as Howard C. Hickman)
Enid Markey ... Katheryn Haldemann
Lola May Lola May ... Queen Eugenie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kate Bruce ... A Mother
J. Frank Burke ... Luther Rolf - The Peace Advocate
Claire Du Brey
George Fisher ... The Christ
Charles K. French ... The Prime Minister
Thomas H. Ince ... Himself - in Prologue
Herschel Mayall ... The King of Wredpryd
Fanny Midgley Fanny Midgley
J. Barney Sherry ... The Blacksmith
Jerome Storm Jerome Storm ... The Blacksmith's Son
Ethel Ullman Ethel Ullman ... The Blacksmith's Daughter
Woodrow Wilson ... Himself - in Prologue
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Storyline

Allegorical film about peace. A king starts a war, many of the women are against it, people are pressed into service. A count has constructed a submarine and gets the order to sink an ocean liner, that is also carrying - supposedly - ammunition for the enemy. The count refuses to fire the torpedos, and sinks the submarine. He survives, but in a limbo between death and life where he meets Jesus, who takes him over to preach peace. Naturally the king arrests him and sentences him to death for treason, but then Jesus shows him the real face of war. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every woman who has a son; every man who has a mother, should see this masterpiece of startling realism. (Print Ad- Dubuque Times-Journal, ((Dubuque, Iowa)) 18 January 1916) See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

2 June 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Civilisation 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

Motion Picture Magazine reported in 1917 that an unnamed female extra had died during production. Her husband, who possessed no photographs of his dead wife, allegedly attended every local screening of the film in hopes of seeing her face again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Lived, But... (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

A movie with a message that no one listened to.
3 July 2001 | by reptilicusSee all my reviews

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).


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