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Hearts of the World

(silent 1918 b 117')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Young men and women fall in love in a French village, but they are separated when the Great War begins. The men fight nearby, and Germans occupy the village.

Director D. W. Griffith visits the battlefield and prime minister David Lloyd George.

In 1912 two American families share a house in a French village. Douglas Gordon (Robert Harron) helps Marie Stephenson (Lillian Gish) catch her goose. Douglas's youngest brother (Ben Alexander) idolizes him. Marie reads Douglas's love poetry. The little disturber (Dorothy Gish) sings and asks for money. She flirts with Douglas, but he is in love with Marie.

Von Strohm (George Siegmann) sees Marie, but she closes the door. Marie asks Douglas for a kiss, and the disturber sees them. Marie and Douglas say it is forever. Marie meets his brothers. The disturber hits Cuckoo (Robert Anderson), who likes her. The disturber is rejected by Douglas and goes to Cuckoo. Douglas tells Marie that his book won a prize.

War begins. Edward Grey asks the English Parliament to support France, and they cheer. The French Deputies are ready. Germans do not answer the ultimatum to withdraw. Douglas enlists in the French army, and soldier Cuckoo kisses the disturber goodbye. Douglas and Marie give each other pictures.

The soldiers march off and dig trenches near the village. Germans invade, and the French retreat to the last ditch. Marie prays. The village is warned, and people leave or find shelter. French soldiers charge. Marie's mother dies. Marie goes to the battlefield with her wedding dress and finds Douglas laying down. In the morning the Red Cross takes him.

German soldiers occupy the village, which is mostly destroyed. The disturber helps Marie. Douglas returns to his unit nearby. Von Strohm is now in Intelligence. Marie tries to work and is whipped. Allies fight for France. The French capture prisoners, and Douglas gets news of the village. Marie thinks he is dead. Dancing girls entertain Von Strohm and other officers.

Boys bury their mother's body. Marie welcomes the boys. Douglas is wearing a German uniform and sneaks into their lines. They catch on, and he flees. He sends up flares as signals. Von Strohm comes to the inn and pursues Marie, who struggles. He is called away by officers.

Douglas finds Marie, and they embrace. Von Strohm comes back and makes the disturber serve him. Marie takes Douglas inside. A German soldier tries to capture him, but she stabs him. Douglas and Marie go upstairs. Allies advance and face poison gas. Von Strohm sees the stabbed German die and searches.

Germans counter-attack. Douglas fights a soldier, and Von Strohm finds Marie outside a locked room. Douglas comes out, shoots a German, and goes back in with Marie. French troops enter the village. Von Strohm attacks the door while Douglas and Marie consider double suicide. The disturber throws a grenade, and Douglas shoots Von Strohm and another German. The Americans arrive, and Cuckoo kisses the disturber. Douglas finds his brothers. People celebrate, and the Americans return home.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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