Over on Through the Shattered Lens Presents the Oscars, we are continuing to reimagine Oscar history, one year at a time! Today, we take a look at the year 1918. World War I ended, the Spanish Flu wiped out 5% of the world’s population, and the Academy embraced Tarzan of the Apes!
1918 was a year of dominated by war and pestilence. As the world seemed to be intent on destroying itself, both the Academy and American filmgoers embraced escapism.
Overseas, the Great War continued to drag on. With no end to the fighting in sight, there were fears that the American public would turn against the war and their elected leaders would withdraw American soldiers from the fighting. The British government, realizing the potential of film as a propaganda tool, contacted director D.W. Griffith and offered to help him make a film. The end result was Hearts of the World, an epic war film that starred Lillian Gish as a French girl who struggles to survive and find true love as the Germans raid her village.
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