Volume 2: Filmography

 

WAR AND THE WOMAN

 

Working title: MY COUNTRY

(Pathé Exchange)

September 9, 1917 (Sunday)

Length: 5 reels

Character: Drama; Pathé Gold Rooster Play

Director: Ernest C. Warde

Scenario: Philip Lonergan

Cameraman: William M. Zollinger

Cast: Florence LaBadie (Braun's stepdaughter Ruth Norton), Ernest C. Warde (Lieutenant Fredericks), Tom Brooke (John Braun), Wayne Arey (John Barker), Grace Henderson (Barker's mother), Arthur Bauer (commander of the invading army), Ralph Faulkner

Note: Exhibitor's Herald, November 4, 1916, carried this note: "Len Larnagan [Lloyd Lonergan was undoubtedly intended] of Thanhouser has just returned from Washington, D.C. where he has been working on a picture. Larnagan established a record at the capital; arriving with his players at 8:30 a.m., the company covered eight locations in different parts of the city and entrained for the return to New York at 11:50. That's going some. Larnagan is noted for his good results." Could the film in question have been this one?

 

ADVERTISEMENT, The Moving Picture World, September 15, 1917:

"Timely, patriotic and thrilling, beautifully produced and acted, War and the Woman deserves special advertising from the exhibitor as it is a picture that will send every audience away more than satisfied. Beyond all doubt it is the best picture that Miss LaBadie ever starred in."

 

ARTICLE, The Moving Picture World, June 16, 1917:

"A secret service story that is also a love story. An American girl is regarded by Washington as an enemy spy, but in the end it is proved that sinister interests used her as a decoy."

 

ARTICLE, Exhibitors Trade Review, September 15, 1917:

"This is a patriotic war picture and one that can be put over with the old hurrah stuff. Trim the lobby and the interior of the house with flags, stacked guns, etc. Also in the lobby suspend on wires a model of an aeroplane so hung that it will twirl about and put a small sign hanging from it with the title of the picture painted on it. The name of Florence LaBadie should be featured and her photographs used in the lobby frames. If there is an army encampment near you it would be a good stunt to invite the men to see the feature. Getting them to march to the theatre and having the event duly mentioned in the newspapers. Pictures of aeroplanes and any other war pictures should go well in the lobby. It might be mentioned that although this is a war picture there are no battle scenes.

"General advertising: Work up stories based on the work that women are doing for their country at the present time. Work in the block of this picture as an illustration. Use electros of the star on all printed matter. For cards, throwaways, and circulars follow this wording: 'Although she was accused of being a spy, she was really a true American girl. When the opportunity presented itself she proved what she could do for her country. War and the Woman is a Pathé picture featuring Florence LaBadie. It will thrill you and make you want to do all you can to help the U.S. in the present war. See it by all means at the BLANK theatre today.' Headlines are 'German Spy Arrested,' 'Florence LaBadie, A Patriotic Role,' 'How the Secret Service Works,' 'Risks Flag for Life [sic].'"

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, September 22, 1917:

"John Braun, an alien under suspicion, and his stepdaughter, Ruth, are accused by the Secret Service of giving information to one of America's enemies. Braun professes that he is innocent, and is dismissed. Up to the interview, Ruth knew nothing of Braun's action, but on their way home he acknowledged that he was a spy, and that he wished to have her assist him, but she declined. The revelation caused Ruth to change her opinion of Braun, and she decided to leave him. Unobserved, she walked to the rear platform of the train and jumped off. Ruth got up unhurt and started off across the country. She had not gone far when an aeroplane crashed to earth. Ruth saw the form of an American aviator entangled in the wreckage. While at the hospital, Ruth called to see the injured John Barker, a wealthy young American, and it was in this way that she met his mother, who considered that Ruth had rendered her a service she could never repay.

"Ruth had the misfortune of losing her position through a detective who had traced her and informed her employer she was a spy. Her funds gone, she endeavored to find work, but was unsuccessful. She wanders out into the country and collapses on a railroad track. She was saved from death by a brakeman. John's mother learned that Ruth was ill, and had her brought to her home. After her recovery Ruth and John were married. The war became serious, and John was called to duty. After his departure Ruth was notified that the enemy was approaching. Everyone fled, and through a mishap Ruth was left behind. The troops arrived and took possession of the home. Among them was Ruth's father, who insisted that she give him information. She promised to aid them, with the one thought in mind, that she might obtain their plans, but she was discovered and made a maid in her own home. John was granted a leave and came to see Ruth. By putting on an officer's uniform he gained admittance. He saw Ruth and slipped her a note, telling her to meet him that night. That night at dinner one of the men was about to tear the American flag to pieces when Ruth snatched it from him and fled from the room. She ran down into the cellar. Thinking she went on the roof, they climbed out. Ruth had concealed some dynamite in the cellar. Lighting the fuse, she rushed to John. As she was about to climb into the machine, she gazed back, only to see the house blown into a million pieces."

 

REVIEW, Exhibitors Herald, September 29, 1917:

"As a whole: good entertainment; story: war tale; star: convincing; support: the best; settings: elaborate; photography: excellent.

"War and the Woman represents 'what might have been,' the story being based on an imaginary invasion of the United States by a foreign army. The story has been carefully handled, and because it is well acted and directed and otherwise skillfully presented it offers an exceptionally strong program number. Miss LaBadie in the role of the American girl, married to an officer of the aviation corps, puts plenty of feeling and action into the part, and the support of Tom Brooke, as John Braun, an alien spy, and Wayne Arey, as the patriotic American, John Baker, is all that could be desired.

"The story: Ruth Norton saves an aviator who has fallen with his machine, and later marries him. In the midst of their honeymoon, war breaks out and the officer is called to his post. An alien regiment takes possession of the house and servants, and Ruth is compelled to work as a maid, the soldiers holding prolonged revelries and forcing the young girls of the neighborhood to participate. Ruth blows up the house during one of these orgies and flies away with her husband in his aeroplane."

 

REVIEW by Charles E. Wagner, Exhibitor's Trade Review, September 15, 1917:

"The patriotic appeal and the timeliness of the theme should place this production in the class of worthy box office attractions. It is a war picture without the horrors of war. This should be taken into consideration by the exhibitor booking this picture so as to assure their patrons of its freedom from the ghastliness that can found in the usual thrilling war pictures. The story deals with the life of a woman behind the enemy's lines, showing how she, although connected by marriage with aliens and under the suspicion of the United States Secret Service, still retains the love for America. The plot lacks actual events, most of which are explained by the subtitles. This, of course, detracts from the force of the appeal. War and the Woman does not take upon itself the aspect of propaganda, but it does entertain and will find favor among the majority of picture fans. The story, while somewhat imaginative, contains enough suspense to hold the attention until the last. It ends with a very thrilling climax.

"Florence LaBadie is particularly pleasing as the young girl upholding the dignity and honor of the flag. She plays her part well and with force, and her pleasing personality is strongly in evidence. Arthur Brower [sic] as the foreign commander also does well, while the rest of the cast meets every requirement. War and the Woman contains a theme of timely interest that will appeal to all Americans. It is an acceptable offering for community theatres or those with a family clientele. Its title, too, is an attraction. These points together with the fact that it is well produced and well acted should provide the exhibitor with a meritorious production of assured box office value.

"The balance of the program: A two-reel slapstick comedy together with a one-reel scenic would be the most appropriate. It might be of added interest to show a scenic of views of the United States, owing to the idea of the country invaded contained in the feature. Musical suggestion: Open with an andante moderato and play it until the scene shifts to the bookstore. Here play a medley of American folk songs until the arrival of the President, at which time play Dixie and continue until Ruth leaves the store. Pick up the theme played with the opening, and continue until the marriage of Ruth to John Parker, at which time use a romantic ballad. Switch back to the opening theme upon the arrival of the invading forces. During the escape of Ruth and the subsequent blowing up of the house use a number of American airs and work up toward the climax. This can be followed throughout, with the exception of the dinner scenes, at which time a lively one-step would be best. When troops are seen walking through the streets, use a patriotic march selection."

 

REVIEW by Dickson G. Watts, The Morning Telegraph, September 9, 1917:

"An introduction to this film declares that it is not a picturization of this war, but rather of what might happen; in other words, it deals with a supposed invasion of America, the invaders not named, but strongly resemble the Germans. While war and its horrors form the theme of the production, the universal aspect of a conflict is not introduced, the action being confined to one family and what happens to it when this country is overrun. There are no battle scenes, unusual in a film of this nature, but an invasion is nevertheless brought forcefully home by the occurrences in the Barker home. Of special interest is the action in the captured mansion, when the half-imbecile gardener's helper turns out to be a clever spy, and the hunted refugee hidden by Mrs. Barker is revealed as a 'spot,' used to test her falsely avowed interest in the enemy cause.

"John Braun, suspected of furnishing military information to a foreign power, is warned by the government. Despite this Braun attempts to use his step-daughter Ruth as a tool in his operations. Ruth is intensely patriotic, and runs away to take up a position in a book store, from which she is driven by secret service men, who believe her to be in league with Braun. Ruth has been instrumental in saving the life of John Barker, a young aviator, and she is taken into the Barker home. She marries the aviator, and when, a little later, war breaks out, she is left at home by her husband, who joins the colors. The enemy lands near the Barker house, and the home becomes the headquarters of the invaders' leader. Scenes of debauchery and brutality ensue, Ruth being made a servant in her own home. Barker, obtaining leave of absence, and disguising himself as an enemy officer, manages to see Ruth. They plan to slip away by aeroplane during the night. Ruth has secretly introduced some dynamite into the house, and before making her escape from the pursuing troops, lights the fuse. The rescue is successful, and the Barkers sail away as the house, with the leaders of the invaders, blows up.

"Florence LaBadie appears in the part of Ruth and does admirably with the dramatic role. Good support is offered by Wayne Arey as the husband, and by Ernest Warde as the spy. The setting is adequate, and the entire production of the sort to appeal to patriotism."

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, September 22, 1917:

"A five-reel war melodrama featuring Florence LaBadie. The picture tells an imaginative story of what might have been had a foreign enemy invaded this country. There are no battle scenes. Spies and other war followers are seen in the picture. It is a melodrama pure and simple, and as such should interest. A longer review can be found in the review columns."

 

REVIEW by Ben H. Grimm, The Moving Picture World, September 22, 1917:

"Because war is uppermost in the minds of all at the present time, War and the Woman, a five-reel Thanhouser melodrama featuring Florence LaBadie, is an acceptable offering and should get over. Considered solely on its merits as a photoplay and aside from its association of ideas with that which is most vital to us just now, the picture is not so much. It is the composite of ideas used in several war pictures of late, with enough original touches and plot twists to carry it through. There are no battle scenes. Philip Lonergan wrote the story and scenario. He has given us a highly imaginative story of, as he terms it, 'what might have been' - what might have happened had a foreign enemy invaded this country. Miss LaBadie is seen in the role of a girl whose stepfather is suspected of being a spy. She leaves him and through a series of circumstances marries John Barker (Wayne Arey), after she has rescued him from an aeroplane accident.

"John is called to duty. The foreign enemy invades the country and takes over the Barker country home. The girl is made a servant because of her refusal to meet the advances of the commander of the invading army. John, now an aviator, gets leave to search for his wife. He gets through the lines and plans to rescue the girl. She manages to elude the invaders as they are at a bacchanalian dinner. She lights a fuse connected with a dynamite charge in the cellar. The house blows up, and the girl is carried in her husband's aeroplane. One touch that could have been left out is that in which President Wilson is shown purchasing books. The actor who plays the part bears a striking resemblance to the President, but it is doubtful that the incident will take well. Another incident that might have been left out is that showing one of the girls who had been 'invited' to the invaders' dinner, and who too obviously had been ravaged. Miss LaBadie is thoroughly capable in her part, as is also Mr. Arey. Other important parts are in the hands of Tom Brooke, Grace Henderson, Arthur Bauer, and Ernest C. Warde, who also directed. Mr. Warde directed with his usual skill."

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, September 15, 1917:

"Points of Interest: A modern war drama of unusual power and interest. The remarkably effective acting of Florence LaBadie as a modern war heroine. Striking views of an aeroplane in action.

"War and the Woman is based on an imaginary invasion of a seacoast town in the United States by a foreign army and is so skillfully directed and acted that the element of probability grows with each succeeding event to the startlingly realistic denouement. It presents a vivid picture of the consequence if the United States had been found unprepared and does this all the more forcibly because the action is concentrated on one typically American home. The plot follows the adventures of a young girl who saves an aviation captain from death in his machine and afterwards marries him. In the midst of their honeymoon, the war breaks out and the young officer is called to his post, leaving his bride alone in his home with only the servants to protect her. An alien regiment invades the house, imprisons its mistress in her room and proceeds to make the night hideous with prolonged revelry, in which the servants are forced to take part. When the young wife learns of a brutal attack on her personal maid, she becomes possessed of a cool determination for revenge and carries out her plans so cleverly that she is able to plant a large charge of dynamite in the cellar, blow up the marauders with the house, and escape with her husband in his aeroplane.

"Florence LaBadie as the young wife put significance and feeling into what might have been a somewhat stereotyped role. Wayne Arey made a valiant aviator, and the remainder of the characters were excellently presented, especially the role of a spy disguised as a servant played by Ernest C. Warde. An unusual treatment of plot and exceptionally clever acting has lifted this drama out of the ordinary class of the too frequent war play and has combined genuine thrills with unusual restraint, which brings it well within the realm of probability. - A.G.S."

 

REVIEW, The Photoplay Magazine, November 1917: This review is reprinted in the narrative section of the present work.

 

REVIEW, Variety, September 28, 1917:

"War and the Woman is a Thanhouser (Pathé) feature designed as a more or less miniature Battle Cry of Peace, with an invading army of no particular nation and introducing the character of President Woodrow Wilson for no particular reason excepting to pad out the picture to sufficient length. Incidentally, the actor impersonating the President gives an excellent imitation of the real thing, perpetrating the Chief Executive's dentificial smile to a nicety. It's about a girl whose stepfather or someone is mixed up in spying upon our government. She is innocently suspected of being implicated in this nefarious work, which culminates in her winning a wealthy American aviator and all ends happily. The principal action takes place at a country house which has been used so often by the Thanhouser people that it has become quite familiar. It is probably in the vicinity of New Rochelle. Florence LaBadie is the star and Ernest Warde the director. Just a program feature. - Jolo."

 

REVIEW, Wid's Film and Film Folk, September 13, 1917:

"We have had a number of plots registering what might happen if the Germans or some other nation invaded our shores, and somehow it seems that the most important thing that would result from such a catastrophe would be that the general would pick out some heroine's home for division headquarters and hold some very ruff parties for a day or two before being dislodged by Uncle Sam and driven back to their own land. I have seen a number of productions supposed to depict this imaginary invasion stuff, and in every one of them that division headquarters in the hero's home was the only thing registered.

"In this particular offering the enemy arrived in our land - all of a sudden like - as a result of one title, and they were finally driven out completely in another title towards the end. Much footage was devoted to the ruff entertainments, and, of course, the shero [sic; "she-hero"] had to suffer various indignities before she planted some dynamite and blew up the whole gang, just before she escaped with the hero. Personally, I can't feel that anyone will consider this entertainment. It never impresses or registers anything in particular, and, as melodrama, is rather too imaginary a proposition to get over.

"For your fans who accept action as it comes, this may do to pass an hour with, but certainly I believe they would be much more pleased with some human stories that really seem like real life. In the first part of this they pulled an impersonation of President Wilson, which was not necessary from any angle and certainly seems to me to be very bad taste at this time. I suppose someone had told the actor who played this part that he looked like the president, and as a consequence, they wished this incident into the plot. The general treatment of the situations in this was very much a la movie, although occasionally we had a bit that registered right well. The best wish in the entire production was the bit where the gardener, who had been planted as a half-wit, proved to be a German spy. In the cast were Tom Brooke, Grace Henderson, Arthur Bower [sic], Wayne Arey and Ernest C. Warde.

"The Box Office Angle: Since at the first part of this the Secret Service of the United States was not shown in a very favorable light, and later on the invading enemy landed in this country rather easily, without any explanation as to why, it would seem to me that this is not an exceptionally well written plot for the present moment. The treatment makes it just an ordinary movie, and, although there are one or two patriotic speeches by the heroine, it never at any time becomes a production worthy of any serious consideration on the part of intelligent fans. As a program release, it will sneak by. I wouldn't make much fuss about it, and certainly I would not be misled into billing it as 'what might happen if the Germans invaded this country.' After such heralding it would seem pretty punk and rather tame."

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.