The Heart of Humanity

The Heart of Humanity is a 1918 American silent war propaganda film produced by Universal Pictures and directed by Allen Holubar. The film stars Dorothy Phillips, William Stowell, and Erich von Stroheim.

The Heart of Humanity
Lantern slide
Directed byAllen Holubar
Produced byCarl Laemmle
Screenplay byAllen Holubar
Olga Scholl
Story byAllen Holubar
Olga Scholl
StarringDorothy Phillips
William Stowell
Erich von Stroheim
CinematographyFred LeRoy Granville
Edited byFrank Lawrence
A Jewel Production
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 22, 1918 (1918-12-22) (New York City)
  • February 15, 1919 (1919-02-15) (United States)
Running time
110 mins.
CountryUnited States
English intertitles


The film "follows the general theme and construction of the D. W. Griffith film Hearts of the World and, in places, parallels [its] plot".[1] The film was made toward the end of World War I and is known for showcasing von Stroheim as a lecherous 'Hun'.



Nanette (Dorothy Phillips), an American girl living in a small Canadian village, is in love with John Patricia (William Stowell), the eldest of five brothers. The war interrupts their romantic idyll, as everyone goes overseas to Belgium and France. Nanette becomes a Red Cross nurse and is terrorized by the evil Prussian Lt. von Eberhard (Erich von Stroheim). It is up to John to save her from the Hun's advances.


The New York Times criticized the "theatricalities and sentimental artificialities of his plot" but characterized "some of [Holubar]'s battle panoramas [as] among the most comprehensive and vivid ever reproduced on the screen."[1] It pointed out that "children add to the charm and effectiveness of some of the scenes, and their costumes and acting reveal that intelligence and care in direction elsewhere evident in the production. One receives the impression, however, that the making of a few of the scenes in which the children appear was not very good for the children."[1]

Preservation status

A copy of the film is preserved at the EmGee Film Library and in private collections.[2] It was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014.[3]


  1. "The Screen". The New York Times. December 22, 1918. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  2. The Heart of Humanity at SilentEra
  3. "The Heart of Humanity. 1919. Directed by Allen Holubar | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved January 21, 2019.

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