Womanhood (1917)

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(a.k.a. Womanhood, the Glory of the Nation) This film, made before the United States entered World War I, was a dramatically-staged call to arms (the U.S., in fact, entered the war around the time it was released). Mary Ward (Alice Joyce) is returning home to the U.S. from Ruritania, where she has been courted by Count Dario (Walter McGrail). She stops over in Manila to find out that war has broken out in Ruritania, and that her mother and sister have been killed in an air raid. She comes back to the U.S. with Paul Strong (Harry T. Morey), who has been appointed Minister of Energies. Mary meets up with the Count in New York, and uses him to infiltrate the enemy. With the help of his sister, Jane (Naomi Childers), Strong rallies America to fight. Meanwhile, Mary's brother, Philip (James Morrison), has been blinded in battle, while his fiancee, a nurse (Peggy Hyland), has been disfigured. The Ruritanian army is headed by the Count's father, Prince Dario (Joseph Kilgour), and he captures Jane and has her shot. He also orders the Count to be shot for disobeying orders. But America prevails, and sends the invaders packing, while Mary and Strong end up in the usual romantic clinch. Since filmmaker J. Stuart Blackton) was involved in the making of this film, its high-handed pretentiousness can easily be assumed, even without knowing the plot.