Review: ‘Civilization’

Master producer Thomas H. Ince was handicapped here by the limitations of C. Gardner Sulivan's scenario, designed as a strong protest against the horrors of war.

Master producer Thomas H. Ince was handicapped here by the limitations of C. Gardner Sulivan’s scenario, designed as a strong protest against the horrors of war.

The entertainment opens showing a nation at peace, suddenly plunged headlong into war by its king (Herschel Mayall), due wholly to his selfish desire for conquest. He is dependent for success upon Count Ferdinand (Howard Hickman), who has invented a submarine calculated to destroy the enemy’s fleet, thus ensuring victory. The count is in love with Katheryn, ‘a woman of the people’. Katheryn (Enid Markey) belongs to a secret society, which is opposed to war. She takes him to one of the meetings and he becomes a convert.

When the count receives a wireless message to blow up an enemy vessel carrying innocent passengers, he refuses to obey orders and, as his own crew attacks him, sinks his own vessel and deliberately drowns himself and crew. His body is picked up and the king sends for his scientists to restore life in order to secure the secrets of the death-dealing submarine. But it is only the count’s body with the soul of Christ who resolves to return to Earth to teach the message of Love not Hate.

There is very little opportunity to criticise Ince’s magnificent effort, but Sulivan’s captions are altogether too preachy. In his effort to project pathos he slops over into bathos.

Civilization

Production

Triangle/KayBee. Director Raymond B. West; Producer Thomas H. Ince; Screenplay C. Gardner Sulivan; Camera Joseph August, Clyde de Vinna, Irvin Willat; Editor Thomas H. Ince; Music Victor Schertzinger

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Roberto Fernandez; editor, Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego; music, Jose Sanchez-Sanz. Reviewed at Cine Verdi, Madrid, Dec. 1, 2002. Original title: Entre Abril y Julio. Running time: 92 min.

With

Howard Hickman Enid Markey Herschel Mayall George Fisher J. Frank Burke
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