Best War Movies of 1915
The Birth of a Nation
Two families, abolitionist Northerners the Stonemans and Southern landowners the Camerons, intertwine. When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman petitions for his pardon. In Reconstruction-era South Carolina, Cameron founds the Ku Klux Klan, battling Elsie's congressman father and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch.
Cecil B. DeMille’s thought-to-be-lost 1915 silent film The Captive, is a found treasure. Set during the Balkan Wars, The Captive tells the story of Sonia (Blanche Sweet, The Woman in White), a young woman living in Montenegro and left to care for her younger brother Milos (Gerald Ward, The Warrens of Virginia) and the family farm when older brother Marko (Page Peters, Davy Crockett) goes off to battle. Unable to handle the day-to-day tasks following her brother’s tragic death, help comes in the form of Mahmud Hassan (House Peters, Prisoners of the Storm) a captured Turk nobleman now a prisoner of war. Tasked with helping Sonia, their initial frosty relationship soon melts into love. As the war rages on Sonia, Mahmud and Milos will face near-insurmountable obstacles in their quest for a better life amidst the hell of war.
Set during the American Civil War, Keenan stars as a Virginia colonel and Charles Ray as his weak-willed son. The son is forced, at gunpoint, by his father to enlist in the Confederate army. He is terrified by the war and deserts during a battle. The film focuses on the son's struggle to overcome his cowardice.
On the Firing Line with the Germans
American-made 1915 documentary that follows the Imperial German army as it pushes eastward through Poland during World War I. Some actual battle footage is included along with scenes of military camp life, convalescing soldiers, logistics and captured prisoners of war (English, French and Russian). After the battles are over, the film concludes with sobering views of the plight of the civilian population during the war.
In the Hands of the Enemy
During World War I, a countess and her young son volunteer to don disguises and take an important secret message through enemy lines.The fluid editing and vastly more dramatic cinematography (especially the use of close shots for expressiveness and intimacy) are part of the extremely rapid advances in the artistry and technique of the film medium compared to just a year earlier.
Goumiers algériens en Belgique
What we see in this short are Algerian spahis, cavalry units from that country. We watch their military evolutions, their charging at the camera and across the muddy shores. We see them at prayer.
The Story of Midinette
During the WWI, Jeannette (Musidora) finds refuge in the South France, among other women. She starts the correspondence with a soldier of the front line and sends him a parcel.
Nurse and Martyr
This intriguing dramatised account of WWI nurse Edith Cavell's imprisonment and execution at the hands of the Germans was produced shortly after her death. Cavell had been arrested for sheltering Allied soldiers and aiding their escape. Directed by and starring former circus performer Percy Moran, with Cora Lee in the title role, what this film lacks in completeness (only 11 of 80 minutes survive) it makes up for in sheer drama.
Movie mogul Thomas H. Ince may well have been the director of The Despoiler as indicated by the credits; but since Ince was known far and wide as a glory-hogger, it's also possible that one of his talented lieutenants wielded the megaphone. A Civil War drama, The Despoiler refuses to take sides, demonstrating that there are heroes and villains in both camps. Capturing a small town, Colonel Charles K. French orders his men to reclaim the funds raised for the enemy by the townsfolk. French's drunken, lacivious second-in-command Frank Keenan intends to extort money from the citizens by threatening the virtue of the town's female population.