To Hell With the Kaiser! (1918)

Sub-Genres - Military Comedy  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

To Hell with the Kaiser is considered a lost film, but if contemporary accounts can be believed, the picture was not nearly as subtle or sedate as its title. Lawrence Grant, who spent his lengthy career playing odious villains, appeared in the dual role of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his look-alike, German actor Robert Graubel. Terrified of being assassinated, the Kaiser hires Graubel to impersonate him at various political functions. Once this is established, the film concentrates on the seemingly endless tally of misdeeds perpetrated by the Kaiser during his quarter-century reign over Germany. His "partner in crime" is the Crown Prince (Earl Schenck), who thinks nothing of casually raping convent girls and gunning down protesting nuns. The Crown Prince's latest conquest is Ruth Monroe (Betty Howe), the daughter of an American inventor. When Ruth's father protests this outrage, he is brutally murdered, whereupon Ruth's sister Alice (Olive Tell) vows revenge. Using her father's newest invention, a wireless machine whose coded messages cannot be intercepted, Alice directs a battalion of planes to bomb the small German village where the Kaiser is hiding. Captured by the Allies, the Kaiser is ignominiously dumped in a POW camp, but not before enduring a well-aimed sock on the jaw from a pugnacious doughboy! This sort of flag-waving flapdoodle was gloriously lampooned by Charlie Chaplin in his classic Shoulder Arms.