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HISTORY

According to news items and reviews, J. Stuart Blackton, the vice-president of Vitagraph and the producer of this film, received the commentary and endorsement of several public figures who actively supported military preparedness, the most notable being Theodore Roosevelt. Because of President Wilson's strict policy of neutrality, Blackton avoided identifying "the enemy" as Germany (Emanon is "no name" spelled backwards), although the beer drinking parties and the Kaiser Wilhelm moustaches of the invading soldiers typified prevailing German stereotypes. In fact, modern sources credit this film with setting the tone for the anti-German propaganda pictures of 1917-18. The picture was extremely popular in the U.S. and other Allied Nations. It was shown for the first time on 6 Aug 1915 to an invited audience at the Vitagraph Theatre in New York. Sources disagree concerning the film's New York premiere; while NYT states that it was first shown on 14 Sep 1915, most sources give 9 Sep 1915 as the premiere date. Before its New York opening, the film was to be shown at militia encampments, special meetings, before authorities in Washington, D.C., in state capitals, at the Army and Navy Club in Washington and on the White House lawn. Contemporary sources note that the following public figures lent their cooperation and also appeared in the film: Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, Major General Leonard Wood, Secretary of War Lindley Garrison, Admiral George Dewey, Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott, General Montgomery M. Macomb, Admiral Charles D. Sigsbee and Admiral Marix. Twenty-five thousand National Guard troops also were used in the film. S. L. ... More Less

According to news items and reviews, J. Stuart Blackton, the vice-president of Vitagraph and the producer of this film, received the commentary and endorsement of several public figures who actively supported military preparedness, the most notable being Theodore Roosevelt. Because of President Wilson's strict policy of neutrality, Blackton avoided identifying "the enemy" as Germany (Emanon is "no name" spelled backwards), although the beer drinking parties and the Kaiser Wilhelm moustaches of the invading soldiers typified prevailing German stereotypes. In fact, modern sources credit this film with setting the tone for the anti-German propaganda pictures of 1917-18. The picture was extremely popular in the U.S. and other Allied Nations. It was shown for the first time on 6 Aug 1915 to an invited audience at the Vitagraph Theatre in New York. Sources disagree concerning the film's New York premiere; while NYT states that it was first shown on 14 Sep 1915, most sources give 9 Sep 1915 as the premiere date. Before its New York opening, the film was to be shown at militia encampments, special meetings, before authorities in Washington, D.C., in state capitals, at the Army and Navy Club in Washington and on the White House lawn. Contemporary sources note that the following public figures lent their cooperation and also appeared in the film: Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, Major General Leonard Wood, Secretary of War Lindley Garrison, Admiral George Dewey, Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott, General Montgomery M. Macomb, Admiral Charles D. Sigsbee and Admiral Marix. Twenty-five thousand National Guard troops also were used in the film. S. L. Rothapfel arranged the musical accompaniment for the New York showing, while M. Winkler arranged the music for state rights showings. The film was reviewed at lengths of five, eight and nine reels. It was released in Britain under the title An American Home , and was followed by a sequel released in 1917, Womanhood, the Glory of a Nation . In 1917, The Battle Cry of Peace was re-edited and re-released under the title The Battle Cry of War . According to MPW , Vitagraph filed suit against Henry Ford on 26 Jun 1916 asking a judgment of one million dollars because of damage from allegations which Ford published in his essay "Humanity and Sanity," which ran in newspapers throughout the country in May 1916. Vitagraph stated that Ford's allegations were that The Battle Cry of Peace attempted to inspire a belief that the United States stood in great danger of an invasion in order that munitions manufacturers, including Hudson Maxim, whose book inspired the film, could profit greatly. Ford's statements, Vitagraph contended in the suit, prejudiced many people against the film and damaged its business in many cities. According to modern sources, Vitagraph was awarded the judgment a year later. Modern sources include Harry S. Northrup and James Lackaye in the cast and credit Frank Tyrell with some of the camera work. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motog
31 Jul 15
p. 216.
Motog
21 Aug 15
pp. 361-62.
Motog
20 Nov 15
p. 1089.
MPN
23 Dec 17
p. 4050.
MPN
7 Aug 15
pp. 19-22.
MPN
21 Aug 15
p. 82.
MPW
21 Aug 15
p. 1291.
MPW
9 Sep 16
p. 1667.
MPW
25 Sep 15
p. 2158.
New York Times
7 Aug 15
p. 8.
New York Times
15 Sep 15
p. 11.
NYDM
4 Aug 15
p. 24.
NYDM
11 Aug 15
p. 28.
Photoplay
1 Nov 15
pp. 80-81.
Variety
13 Aug 15
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
MUSIC
Mus accompaniment selected and adapted by
Mus accompaniment edited by
Mus accompaniment
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Defenseless America by Hudson Maxim (New York, 1915).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Battle Cry of War
Release Date:
9 September 1915
Copyright Claimant:
The Vitagraph Co. of America
Copyright Date:
10 November 1915
Copyright Number:
LP6935
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Several years before the United States' entrance into World War I, John Harrison attends a lecture delivered by patriotic writer Hudson Maxim and subsequently becomes an advocate of military preparedness. Although he is ridiculed by his younger brother Charley, as well as by Mr. Vandergriff, his fiancée's father, John continues to warn of the dangers of a weak military. Mr. Emanon, a frequent visitor to the Vandergriff house, is a leader of the peace movement and secretly an enemy agent. During a massive peace rally conducted by Mr. Emanon, the enemy suddenly opens fire on New York City, shelling the buildings and brutally killing many citizens. Vandergriff is shot and John is bayoneted, and later Mrs. Vandergriff shoots her two daughters to prevent their disgrace at the hands of the enemy. Following some allegorical scenes involving historical American figures, a plea is made for Americans to support military ... +


Several years before the United States' entrance into World War I, John Harrison attends a lecture delivered by patriotic writer Hudson Maxim and subsequently becomes an advocate of military preparedness. Although he is ridiculed by his younger brother Charley, as well as by Mr. Vandergriff, his fiancée's father, John continues to warn of the dangers of a weak military. Mr. Emanon, a frequent visitor to the Vandergriff house, is a leader of the peace movement and secretly an enemy agent. During a massive peace rally conducted by Mr. Emanon, the enemy suddenly opens fire on New York City, shelling the buildings and brutally killing many citizens. Vandergriff is shot and John is bayoneted, and later Mrs. Vandergriff shoots her two daughters to prevent their disgrace at the hands of the enemy. Following some allegorical scenes involving historical American figures, a plea is made for Americans to support military preparedness. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
World War I


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.