Chicago Tribune – Sunday, April 21, 1918 – Page 37
“Hearts of the World”
By Mae Tinee
This being Sunday, with everybody having a little leisure, may be as good a time as any other for me to answer the questions that come pouring in regarding the new Griffith picture, “Heart of the World,” which will have its premier showing on Wednesday night at the Olympic. Time: 8:15.
Where was the picture taken?
On the European battlefields.
What made Mr. Griffith think of taking it?
It happened this way: He went to Europe to procure scenes for six Artcraft pictures which he was under contract to make. He was just about to start back, when Lord Beaverbrook of the British publicity bureau approached him with a request. He said that the government was about to make some official war films and the valuable experience of Mr. Griffith was desired. One thing led to another. It was finally decided to make the official films, but to weave them with a story of charm and power.
“A crowd of us used to get together,” Mr. Griffith said, “and discuss the subject. We all had our own ideas, but finally it was decided that Georges De Tolignac had the right one. M. De Tolignac is a close friend of J. M. Barry.
“He said, ‘Just let the story be a simple heart tale, like one of the many thousand which are being lived each day over here. A simple story about simple folk – such a story as all many understand.’ We told him to write it. He named it, too.
“First I didn’t care for the name. Now I think it’s the best one that could possibly have been chosen. It is a cry from ‘Hearts of the World’ to hearts of the world.”
What is the story about?
It is a romance of love and action with a setting of war stricken France and Belgium, and briefly is of the love affair between a young American artist (Robert Harron) and an American girl (Lillian Gish), who both reside in France. They are engaged to be married, and the date for the wedding set when war is declared and the Huns loom up with their hideous menace.
“Any country that’s good enough to live in is worth fighting for!” says the American boy, and he joins the French army. From then on the story, it is said, is one series of thrills after another until in the end the allies come to the rescue of the beleaguered girl and her townspeople and send the audience away with a smile on their lips.
How long was the picture in the taking?
Who gets the money from the film?
Half of the proceeds go to British charities.
You’re acquainted with the people in it. The leads will be taken by Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, George Seigman, George Fawcett and Josephine Crowell.
Prominent figures in the history of the day will be seen and the supers are none others than the real people suffering and living in Belgium and France today.