Hearts of the World

Hearts of the World

Lillian Gish
Director: D.W. Griffith Cast: Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
, Robert Harron
Robert Harron
, Dorothy Gish
Dorothy Gish
D.W. Griffith


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On the heels of his masterpiece, Intolerance, which dramatized the futility of war born out of prejudice, director D.W. Griffith shifted gears for this film. Intolerance had proven a financial disaster for Griffith, so he signed with producer Adolph Zukor to release his next film. He came upon the subject matter on a trip to England to promote Intolerance. The British government, desperately looking to America for help in fighting the Germans in the first World War, persuaded Griffith to make a propaganda picture. Set in France, it's the portrait of a village overrun by the Germans during the hostilities. Griffith begins the story in 1912 with a slow developing romance between The Boy, Douglas Gordon Hamilton (Robert Harron) and The Girl, Marie Stephenson (Lillian Gish). A street singer known as The Disturber (Dorothy Gish) tries to come between them, but she settles for her own romance with Monsieur Cuckoo (Robert Anderson). In the summer of 1914, The Boy and M. Cuckoo answer the call to arms, forcing the postponement of The Boy and Girl's wedding. The film's second half cuts back and forth between the battlefield and the home front (which in this case are separated by only a few miles). By the time the film was completed, the United States had already entered the war, and over the years its extreme portrayal of German soldiers has been trimmed, the first time at the request of the wife of President Woodrow Wilson. In fact, Griffith included shots of American troops helping out in the story's final battle and then marching off to return home. The version viewed for this review, running 115 minutes, included a brief prologue with footage of Griffith touring the battlefields in France, where some documentary footage was shot, though most of the film was made in Southern California, and the director meeting with British prime minister David Lloyd George. Also notable is the appearance in small parts of future filmmaker Erich Von Stroheim as a German soldier, future character actor Ben Alexander as The Boy's youngest brother, and future entertainer Noël Coward as a young villager pushing a wheelbarrow.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/15/2015
UPC: 0644827202621
Original Release: 1918
Source: Reel Vault
Sound: [silent]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lillian Gish The Girl, Marie Stephenson
Robert Harron The Boy, Douglas Gordon Hamilton
Dorothy Gish The Little Disturber
George Fawcett The Village Carpenter
Erich Von Stroheim A German Soldier
Noël Coward Boy with Wheelbarrow
Robert Anderson Mons. Cuckoo
Jack Cosgrove The Boy's Father
William "Wild Bill" Elliott Actor
Mary Gish A Refugee Mother
John Harron Boy with Barrel
Eugene Pouyet A Poilu
Anna Mae Walthall A French Peasant Girl
Ben Alexander The littlest brother
Kate Bruce The Boy's Mother
Josephine Crowell The Mother
Marion Emmons The Boy's Other Brother
Mary Hay A Dancer
Fay Holderness The Innkeeper
Adolphe Lestina The Grandfather
George Siegmann Von Strohm
Herbert Sutch A French Major
George Nichols A German Sergeant

Technical Credits
D.W. Griffith Director,Cinematographer,Producer,Screenwriter
Billy Bitzer Cinematographer
Carli D. Elinor Score Composer
Rose Smith Editor
James Smith Editor

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