Robert Harron


Directed by               D. W. Griffith
Produced by             D. W. Griffith
Scenario by               M. Gaston de Tolignac (D.W. Griffith)         
Starring                     Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Dorothy Gish
Cinematography       Billy Bitzer
Editing by                  Rose Smith, James Smith
Distributed by           Paramount Pictures
Release date               12 March, 1918
Running time             1 hour, 58 minutes
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles


"Hearts of the World" (1918) is a war drama, included in our program to illustrate the work of two of our stars: actor Robert Harron and cinematographer Billy Bitzer.


Two American families share a house in a peaceful French town.  The Boy (Robert Harron) of one family  and the Girl (Lillian Gish) of the other have a romance.  The Boy is also liked a lot by another girl, "the little disturber" (Dorothy Gish), who follows him persistently and manages to steal a hug and a kiss.  Unfortunately for the Boy, the Girl happens to witness the incident and makes him beg forgiveness, after which they reconcile and schedule their wedding.

When the war breaks out, however, their plans turn to naught.  The Boy joins the army and the Girl puts her wedding dress in a box.  Despite heroic resistance from the defenders of the town, they are overcome by the brutal onslaught of the enemy.  Many civilians die during the bombardments.   The Girl is in shock and wanders out of town into the battlefield, where she finds the Boy prostrate and apparently lifeless.  She spends with him what would have been their first night together after the wedding.

Next morning the Girl returns and is nursed back to health by the "little disturber".  Women of all ages are then forced by the occupants to do hard labor in the fields.  Anyone who cannot work to their satisfaction is severely punished. 

In the meantime the Boy is rescued by the Red Cross and after recovery returns to the trenches for the allied counteroffensive.  He then crosses the enemy lines and gets back in town, where he finds the Girl.  Their hideout is discovered, however, and they perform a symbolic ceremony to meet death as man and wife.   Then they hear the noise of the advancing friendly troops.

The allied attack to liberate the town seems a race against the clock for the Boy and the Girl just as enemy soldiers are trying to break the door of their shelter.



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   Robert Harron