FILMS ON WORLD WAR I AND ITS AFTERMATH
November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. To acknowledge this historical moment, GME presents a curated collection of DVDs related to this international conflict and its immediate aftermath. These titles are made available exclusively by GME for institutional use. Two of these films – BEHIND THE DOOR (1919, produced by Thomas H. Ince) and J’ACCUSE (1919, directed by Abel Gance) – depict wartime on the high seas of the Atlantic and the battlefields of France. Several other films depict the ravages following the end of the conflict in war-torn Vienna and Berlin – G.W. Pabst’s THE JOYLESS STREET (1925) and four films by director Gerhard Lamprecht -- SLUMS OF BERLIN (1925), CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE and THE PEOPLE AMONG US (both 1926), and UNDER THE LANTERN (1928).
Irvin V. Willat (US, 1919)
Legendary producer Thomas H. Ince and director Irvin V. Willat made this —“the most outspoken of all the vengeance films” according to film historian Kevin Brownlow —during the period of World War I-inspired American patriotism. Hobart Bosworth stars as Oscar Krug, a working-class American, who is persecuted for his German ancestry after war is declared.
Abel Gance (France, 1919)
Abel Gance’s extraordinary breakthrough work, J’ACCUSE is a World War I drama considered one of the most technically advanced films of the era and the first major pacifist film, referred to by Gance as, “A human cry against the bellicose din of armies.” This seminal cinematic achievement stars Marise Dauvray as Edith, a young woman who is unhappily married an older man, François (Séverin-Mars), though she’s actually in love with a young poet, Jean Diaz (Romuald Joubé). Two short films are also included in this DVD edition. PARIS DURING THE WAR (1915, directed by Henri Diamant-Berger) and FIGHTING THE WAR (1916).
Georg Willhelm Pabst (Germany, 1925)
THE JOYLESS STREET is not only one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic, it is also one of the most spectacular censorship cases of the era. The story from the inflationary period in Vienna in the years immediately after World War I was considered too much of a provocation: nouveau riches currency and stock market speculators who wallow in Babylonian luxury, homeless and unemployed Lumpenproletariat living in barns, women who sell their souls for a bit of fresh meat at the butcher's, sexual orgies, bordellos and murders.
Gerhard Lamprecht (Germany, 1926)
The double-DVD set, THE PEOPLE AMONG US & UNDER THE LANTERN, presents two films by Gerhard Lamprecht sketching social panoramas of late 1920's Berlin. THE PEOPLE AMONG US delineates the social microcosm of a tenement building; the tenants represent a cross-section of poverty, corruption and compassion. In UNDER THE LANTERN, the girl Else begins to follow the wrong path after an altercation with her father. The high life turns out to be the first step in a downward spiral.
Gerhard Lamprecht (Germany, 1925)
This double-DVD presents two feature films by Gerhard Lamprecht which reproduce Heinrich Zille's view of the Berlin milieu ("Milljöh"). In SLUMS OF BERLIN (1925) the engineer Robert Kramer, released from prison, cannot find his way back to civilian life. He wants to end his life, but is held back by the streetwalker Emma. In CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE (1926) three working- class children suffer under their violent foster parents, till a dramatic incident changes their lives.