MAUDITE SOIT LA GUERRE (1914)
aka Damned Be War
Article 5143 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Alfred Machin
Featuring Baert, Suzanne Berni, Fernand Crommelynck
What it is: Anti-war movie
A young man goes to another country to become an airplane pilot, and ends up staying with a family there, befriending the son and falling in love with the daughter. When war breaks out between the two countries, he must return home and fight for his country. When he becomes a successful bomber pilot, the son is assigned the task of bringing this enemy down, unaware it is the man he befriended. Things do not end well.
I’m not quite sure exactly what the fantastic content is here, but it might qualify as a prediction of World War I and the use of planes in warfare; the Walt Lee guide says it “anticipates horrors of war”. but the main horrors this one emphasizes are not technological ones but human ones; friends killing friends and people losing those that are dear to them. The story itself is no surprise; a movie with a title like this is not going to have a happy ending, and the plot may be a hair too dependent on coincidence, as the set-up is a little too neat. It also might have been a little more effective if the acting had been a little subtler; it does manage to avoid hamminess, but some of the physical reactions are a little too cliched. Still, the movie is a bit on the mild side; compared of the real horrors that would arise with WWI, this is pretty weak tea, though it certainly does personalize the horror. The print I saw does have some truly excellent hand-coloring, though.