Cast & Crew
Colonel Harry K. Eustace
This film combines newsreel footage with dramatized scenes and opens with footage excerpted from a British anti-war film. In the next scene, a newspaper editor assigns one of his reporters to write a story about the economics of war. To find an answer to his question, "Is war a racket?" the reporter interviews a munitions manufacturer, an economist, a Gold Star mother, a minister, a businessman, a young wife and a former soldier. Intercut with the dramatized interviews are newsreel clips showing scenes of World War I, from "homefront" shots of parades, munitions factories, training of soldiers, bread lines, empty stores, abandoned freight yards, to battlefield scenes of soldiers dying by bayonets, machine guns, shells and gas. Shots of submarines, tanks and Zeppelins are shown, as well as crowd scenes in Berlin, London, Rome and Moscow. The filmmakers charge that during World War I, American and European munitions manufacturers conspired to sell ordnance to one another without regard to their country's political position in the war. Closeups of four men reciting the phrase "War makes big business" are contrasted with shots of a Russian, German, Italian and French soldier (played by the same actor) saying, "We must prepare." The heroism of the American and Allied troops during the war is praised. The film concludes with a scene depicting cave men warring with clubs and stones.
Colonel Harry K. Eustace
A. L. Alexander
Many reviewers complained about the propagandistic nature of the film as well as its sloppy presentation. According to New York Times critic, producer Jacques Koerpel explained in a curtain speech to a preview audience that "the film was not edited fully; that certain key scenes were omitted; that others, of less importance, would be [edited] within the next forty-eight hours." Apparently the film was edited from ninety or so minutes to less than seventy. The exact nature of the British anti-war film, as mentioned in the Motion Picture Herald review, has not been determined. According to Variety, newsreel shots of a Chicago stockyard fire were used but not identified. Variety also speculates that material from the "The Fall of Babylon" sequence from D. W. Griffith's 1916 film Intolerance and from Cecil B. DeMille's 1917 production The Woman God Forgot was intercut into this film but not acknowledged by the filmmakers. One source lists producer Jacques Koerpel as a co-director.