Powder (1916)

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In the early weeks of 1916, many Americans still wanted their country to stay out of World War I, and when the U.S. shipped munitions over to England, it caused a furor. So this picture, which broaches the subject -- albeit using fictional countries -- treads carefully to keep from offending anyone. Humanitarian Chester Fosdick (Arthur Maude, who also directed) is engaged to Eleanor Brand (Lizette Thorne), daughter of powder manufacturer Judson Brand (William Carroll). Fosdick wants to push a bill through congress that would halt the exportation of arms. Brand is violently opposed to this, and he forces Eleanor to break off the engagement. Unbeknownst to Fosdick, he is being used by Reinhold Burghoff (Jack Prescott) and Jan Bernheim (Constance Crawley), agents of the two warring nations who want Brand's goods. Fosdick thwarts a plan to blow up the munitions factories, but is suspected of setting up the explosives himself. Congress kills the bill. Eventually Fosdick is cleared of any wrongdoing and the agents are rounded up and deported. Brand, meanwhile, has heard that his son (George Ahearn) has been killed overseas by one of his company's shells, and decides to close down his plants. Fosdick and Eleanor are reunited.