Crisis (1915)

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Birth of a Nation came out the year before this ten-reel spectacular about the Civil War was released, but that wasn't the only reason the Selig studios made it -- considering that, in the mid-1910s, hundreds of thousands of people had fathers or grandfathers who fought in the war, it's no surprise the subject was popular. In addition, it was based on a book by then-famous American author Winston Churchill (who had the same name as a certain English statesman). Although it spends more time on illustrating the history of the Civil War (at least, the way it was seen in the early part of the twentieth century) than on being entertainment, the film did have some high points. Tom Mix was hired especially to do a thrilling horse stunt in one of the battle scenes, and George Fawcett, as Judge Silas Whipple, plays one of his most sympathetic heavies. Also notable was Sam D. Drane's resemblance to the character he played -- Abraham Lincoln (Drane, incidentally, died shortly after he completed filming). Overblown but not particularly engrossing, The Crisis did not make cinematic history.