Restitution (1918)

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For reasons best known to the editors, the trade magazine Variety bestowed two reviews within a two-week period on the nine-reel Biblical spectacle Restitution (Evidently, the film originally ran twelve reels but was quickly whittled down to a more playable length). Not quite as plump as he'd be in his talking-picture appearances, Gino Corrado -- here billed as Eugene Corey -- stars as Adam, with Lois Gardner as his Eve. The film begins at the literal Beginning, as Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden, then moves in jumps and spurts through both the Old and New Testament, with Abraham, Sarah, Joseph and Mary making cameo appearances; at one point, Howard Gaye, the film's director, is seen as Jesus, repeating the role he played in D.W. Griffith's Intolerance. After spending a great deal of time on the reign of Emperor Nero (John Steppling), the story suddenly takes a quantum leap to 1918, where the First World War is placed in a religious context (The Kaiser, identified as "A Modern Ruler," is unsubtly likened to Satan). The film ends with the Resurrection, as the guilty (read: The Germans) are punished and the Good (read: Everybody Else) rewarded. Undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, Restitution is one of the most frustrating entries in the annals of Lost Films.