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The Unbeliever1918

  • 2.8
This was perhaps the last Thomas Edison film ever to be released and features Erich von Stroheim as a German army officer who enjoys killing old women and children. He would reprise and modify this role in Jean Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION. Besides the wartime propagandistic clich├ęs, the film offers a set of moralizing beliefs. As the story begins, Philip Lundicutt forcefully expresses his lack of belief in God as well as his disdain for those of the lower classes. He is the "unbeliever" of the title. On the battlefields of Europe, however, he finds God and learns to respect his social "inferiors." This well-made film offers the homilies of a genteel culture that is about to fall apart. It was part of a popular genre of propagandistic fiction films that included D. W. Griffith's HEARTS AND THE WORLD. Its battle scenes, shot at Camp Quantico, Virginia, were often praised. One critic remarked that, "It is the best of its kind that the present writer has seen, principally because, among the reasons too numerous to mention, it is realistic: the story is reasonable, and the main issue is never lost, there are no cheap heroics, and last but by no means least, it stirs up a healthy patriotism." Its director, Alan Crosland, would later direct THE JAZZ SINGER.

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Member Reviews (1)

Good message...interesting view of another time in America's history.