Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, March 15, 2021

Hearts of the World Was Filmed on the Western Front


Hearts of the World (also known as Love's Struggle) is a preposterous, but memorable, 1918 American silent World War I propaganda film written, produced, and directed by D. W. Griffith. In an effort to change the American public's neutral stance regarding the war, the British government contacted Griffith due to his stature and reputation for dramatic filmmaking.  Hearts of the World begins with a brief prologue that includes scenes of the director collecting footage on the Western Front and standing outside No. 10 Downing Street shaking the hand of British prime minister David Lloyd George.

Hearts of the World stars Lillian and Dorothy Gish and Robert Harron. The film was produced by D.W. Griffith Productions, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation and the War Office Committee was distributed by Paramount Pictures under the Artcraft Pictures Corporation banner.

D.W. Griffiths, Center in Brodie Helmet and Bow Tie
in a British Trench on the Western Front

The British Government gave D.W. Griffith unprecedented access to film in locations that were otherwise forbidden to journalists. Exterior shots were largely filmed throughout England from May to October 1917.  Griffith made two trips to France where he filmed footage of the trenches. In one instance Griffith and his film crew were forced to take cover when their location came under German artillery fire; he escaped unscathed. The film company returned to Los Angeles where British and Canadian troops recreated battle scenes and other interior scenes on a stage at Fine Arts Studio in Los Angeles from November to December 1917.  The scenes shot in Europe and Los Angeles were edited together with footage from stock newsreels.  

Hearts of the World can be viewed on your television if you have Amazon Prime and for free on your computer via YouTube.

Sources:  Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes

1 comment:

  1. I watched the film bit by bit over this past week. Yes, it's overly dramatic, but gives us a glimpse into life in 1917/18. Thank you for posting!