Cast & Crew
Nanette, the French ward of Father Michael, marries John Patricia, the eldest of widow Patricia's five sons, only a few hours before World War I is declared. All five eventually enlist and leave their home town in the Canadian Rockies to fight on the battlefields of Europe. The widow's sorrow upon hearing that one of her sons has been killed is somewhat diminished by the birth of John and Nanette's son; but when the boy reaches the age of two, the young mother leaves him in the care of his grandmother and journeys to Flanders to care for children left homeless by the war. After his three remaining brothers fall in battle, John is captured by the enemy but soon escapes in the guise of a German officer. Lieutenant Von Eberhard, a German who had once befriended John, discovers Nanette in the orphanage and brutally attacks her. Interrupted by the wailing of a baby on the other side of the room, Von Eberhard throws the baby out the window and continues his attack on Nanette, who loses her reason. John bursts in and kills Von Eberhard, but Nanette, believing him to be the enemy, stabs herself. She recovers and is sent home to await the arrival of her husband, who, by the time peace is declared, has been decorated as a hero.
Erich Von Stroheim
The pre-release title of this film was The Dawn of Reckoning. Director Allen Holubar and his wife Dorothy Phillips, the star of the film, appeared at the New York premiere on December 22, 1918. The film opened in several cities, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver and Chicago before its February 15, 1919 national release. Motion Picture News noted that the film presented "3,000 soldiers, Marines, refugees, civilians, etc." Some sources give a length of nine or ten reels.
Modern sources list Erich von Stroheim as technical advisor and include Tom London in the cast; others give the name of the character played by von Stroheim as Oscar Strang, though existing prints give the character's name as Eric Von Eberhard. The film also was reviewed as Hearts of Humanity. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker praised the film after a National Press Club showing on January 20, 1919.