Spirit of the USA (1924)

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Although nobody really cared about World War I by 1924 (it had been over for five and a half years), this melodrama tried to stir up some box office with its brazen patriotism. Thomas Gains (Carl Stockdale) and his wife, Mary (the always motherly Mary Carr), own a farm and have raised two boys, Johnnie (Johnnie Walker), and Silas (Cuyler Supplee). When the U.S. declares war against Germany, Johnnie is anxious to enlist. The draft board turns him down because of an eye injury so he signs up with the Salvation Army and heads for France. The cowardly Silas, meanwhile, stays home and marries Zelda Burrows (Rosemary Cooper), whose father (Mark Fenton) wants to get his hands on the Gains property so he can build a big dam. When Zelda sneers at Silas for staying home, he joins the army and dies on the battlefield. Since Thomas had given Silas the farm, Zelda is able to throw them out of their own home and claim it with her father and her lawyer, Jim Fuller (Dave Kirby), who claims that Johnnie is dead. But John returns home and puts everything right. He tosses Zelda off the farm, blows up the dam, and reinstalls his parents in their home. He then reunites with his sweetheart, Gretchen Schultz (Gloria Grey), who has been waiting for him.