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

Saturday, February 3, 2024

D.W. Griffith in the Trenches

Hearts of the World (also known as Love's Struggle) was a 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 film making. 

Hearts of the World stars Lillian and Dorothy Gish and Robert Harron. The film, 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.

The British Government gave D.W. Griffith unprecedented access to film in locations that were otherwise forbidden to journalists. After being presented to George V and Queen Mary, Griffith was introduced to members of London's aristocracy who agreed to appear in the film. Among them were Lady Lavery, Elizabeth Asquith (later Princess Bibesco), Lady Diana Manners. Playwright Noël Coward also appeared as an extra.

Griffith (Bow Tie) in a Recently Damaged Trench

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 full movie can be viewed here:

Sources:  Wikipedia and YouTube

1 comment:

  1. The article shows behind the scenes the making of a propaganda film, "Hearts of the World," which even included royalty to change public opinion. However, the impact is still debatable, especially on how much it contributes to the war effort. Regardless, there are many facets of how effective propaganda is, from posters advertising support for the war by buying war bonds and newspapers and magazines with pictures and stories about the front. Radio was used to promote patriotic messages and news. The new book "The Art of Devastation" shows how influential war posters were for the war effort of every country involved. Regardless, it's a great article with a clip of the movie. Thanks