The Great Love (1918 film)

The Great Love is a 1918 American silent war drama film directed and written by D. W. Griffith who, along with scenario writer Stanner E.V. Taylor, is credited as "Captain Victor Marier". The film stars George Fawcett and Lillian Gish. Set during World War I, exterior scenes were shot on location in England. The Great Love is now considered to be a lost film.[1][2][3]

The Great Love
Film poster
Directed byD. W. Griffith
(as Captain Victor Marier)
Produced byD. W. Griffith
Written byD. W. Griffith
Stanner E.V. Taylor as Captain Victor Marier
StarringGeorge Fawcett
Lillian Gish
Music byLouis F. Gottschalk
CinematographyG. W. Bitzer
George Schneiderman
Edited byJames Smith
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • August 11, 1918 (1918-08-11)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

This film had footage of several high society and influential British people helping out with the war effort, including Her Majesty Queen Alexandra, the widow of King Edward VII, and Sir Frederick Treves, the doctor who once knew and tended to Joseph Merrick a.k.a. "The Elephant Man".[4] Footage of a Zeppelin air raid on London taken by G. W. Bitzer was also included the film.[5]


As described in a film magazine,[5] Jim Young (Harron) of Youngstown, Pennsylvania, reads of the German war atrocities and decides to enlist in the British army, thus becoming a forerunner of the American forces that are subsequently to leave for the battlefields of Europe. He begins active training at a camp outside London. While enjoying a few hours of leave, he meets Susie Broadplains (Gish), a young woman from Australia. She is flattered by his attentions and their friendship soon blossoms into love. Susie's one dissipation consists of walking in Pump Lane with her soldier boy. She falls heir to 20,000 pounds and at once becomes the object of much solicitude from Sir Roger Brighton (Walthall), a fortune hunter. When Jim is ordered with his regiment to go to the Front, he has no time to bid her adieu. Sir Rogers seeks to force his marriage before he leaves for Paris on a business trip, and she accepts him. German plotters plan to destroy an arsenal at night and Sir Roger is inveigled into driving an automobile along a London road with its lights turned skyward to guide the Zeppelins. Jim, wounded and home on furlough, detects Sir Roger on the lonely road, follows and traps him in his cottage. Sir Roger turns his pistol on himself rather than be taken alive. Susie finds the "great love" in service for the cause of democracy and her country, with a greater love in sight.


VIPs appearing as themselves


Like many American films of the time, The Great Love was subject to restrictions and cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required cuts, in Reel 4, three scenes of mother with illegitimate child with wife of Baron, Reel 5, after the intertitle "You are my wife and I stay here tonight" eliminate all following scenes of man pounding bed, and, Reel 6, the intertitle "Drunk with two wines — champagne and passion".[8]

See also


  1. "Progressive Silent Film List: The Great Love". Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  2. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: The Great Love
  3. The Great Love at; Lost Films Wanted Archived February 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  4. The Films of D. W. Griffith p. 97 c.1975 by Edward Wagenknecht and Anthony Slide ISBN 0-517-52326-4 Retrieved October 23, 2015
  5. "Reviews: The Great Love". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 7 (8): 28. August 24, 1918.
  6. Countess of Drogheda, Kathleen Moore Pelham Burn, with her son Charles, 1915 Retrieved December 8, 2016
  7. Kathleen Moore Pelham BurnThe Peerage Retrieved December 8, 2016]
  8. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 7 (11): 57. September 7, 1918.
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