Civilization is a silent film produced and directed by Thomas Harper Ince. It is an anti-war film meant to discourage American involvement in World War I.
Spoilers Echoes of Biblical teachings were prominent in Thomas Ince's filmmaking, as I outline in my biography of the producer. Even before the public saw it, Ince arranged a viewing by President Wilson and his cabinet, and sent another print to the Pope.
The picture was directed by a team, and Ince secured Wilson's appearance in a prologue, photographed at his private home, Shadow Lawn, by Lambert Hillyer. After the opening in Los Angeles in April, lack of anticipated business prompted additional recutting and new scenes shot before the New York premiere.
Not only a "Peace Song," but also a march, both composed by Victor Schertzinger, were issued as sheet music for the film. Once the United States joined the war, Ince would revise Civilization to bring it up to date. The movie was given a formal theatrical reissue at least as late as While probably Ince's most famous movie, it violated one of his tenets.
In this class may be placed the allegorical, the symbolical, the diabolical, and those pictures which are so obviously moral that they cease to be interesting.
While achieving recognition, Civilization has often been derided in subsequent years for such sentiments as the king's conclusion, "During my reign it is my command that my subjects enjoy peace and good will.
Even as Americans were dismayed at the war's slaughter on all sides, the sinking of the British passenger liner Lusitania, in which over Americans drowned, nearly goaded the United States into participation.
Less than a year into the conflict, the event signaled the increasingly antagonistic attitude toward Germany for adopting submarine warfare. This innovation which was to become a popular motion picture topic, appearing in other Ince productions in the next few years. Civilization accurately portrays the German motivation, knowing such ships carried war supplies, as well the appalling consequences of their tactics.
Civilization opens in a mythical European nation, where the king Herschell Mayall leads his eager people to war, in the name of nothing but conquest, disregarding the pacifists who lament abandoning Christ's teachings. Photoplay noted the absence of the personal element, with the appeal to the mind over the heart in making the spectacle secondary.
Given the order to sink a passenger liner carrying war material, the count complies, but it changes him. When he is rescued he is taken over by the spirit of Christ George Fisher. The count leads the nation in protest, and the fearful king, a "modern Pilate," orders him tried. But the count dies before execution, and Christ's spirit leaves his body to show the king the true cost of war with death and starvation.
The king also learns that he is condemned for the misery he has caused. Outside the palace, the crowds pray for peace, and the king finally acquiesces to peace at any price.
Despite the pacifist tone, the antagonists seem Teutonic, with spiked helmets and upturned moustaches, satisfying two potential viewpoints. Yet the capitol building of the country is also a domed structure clearly modeled on the United States Capitol; Ince seems to be indicating that warlike actions may well spring up in America.
The submarine sequence and the count's reformation urge awaiting the retribution of a higher power, without going to war. Perhaps most effective is the final sequence of the soldiers return home and reunion with their families. As the intertitle notes, "The blare of the war bugle has died and in its place we hear the note of the shepherd's horn.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. A movie with a message that no one listened to. 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.
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.He later formed an unsuccessful Vaudeville company known as "Thomas H. Ince and His Comedians" in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. In , Ince met actress Elinor Kershaw ("Nell") and they were married on October 19 of that year.
They had three children.
Civilization is a American pacifist allegorical drama film produced by Thomas H. Ince, written by C. Gardner Sullivan and Edward Sloman, and directed by Ince, Reginald Barker and Raymond B. West. The story involves a submarine commander who refuses to fire at a civilian ocean liner supposedly carrying ammunition for his country's enemies.
Thomas Ince’s war epic is an allegorical film about peace.
The King of Wredpryd leads his people to war with their neighbors heedless of the cost. Count Ferdinand captains a submarine of his own design but refuses to fire on a civilian ship and therefor sinks his attheheels.coms: 7. With a scale comparable to the big-budget epics of D.W. Griffith, Civilization is by far the most towering achievement of pioneering film producer Thomas H.
Ince. The story was conceived by screenwriter C. Gardner Sullivan as a polemic to those who believed America should involve itself in the world war currently raging through Europe/5(6).
Civilization (initially titled He Who Returned), had a simple but sweeping purpose; as one newspaper notice headlined, "Aims Film to Shorten Life of War—Thomas Ince Contends Great Movie Spectacle 'Civilization' Is Excellent Peace Argument." Shot in , it was released in April Nov 19, · Silent Director Thomas Ince Murder Mystery Thomas Harper Ince (November 6, – November 19, ) was an American silent film actor, director, screenwriter and producer of more than films and pioneering studio attheheels.com: Los Angeles Morgue Files.