AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Motherhood
Director: Frank Powell (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Mar 1917
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Marjorie Rambeau (Louise)  
    Frank Ford (The father)  
    Robert Elliott (Albert)  
    Paul Everton (Enemy captain)  
    Aubrey Beattie (The Corporal)  
    Agnes Eyre (The mother)  
    Ruth Byron (Captain's wife)  
    Lillian Page (Captain's mother)  
    Anne Sutherland (Charlotte)  
    Frank Frayne (Her son)  
    Robert Eaton (Her son)  
    Lorna Volare (The loved one)  

Summary: As an American husband and wife begin reading aloud the tale of two European families caught in the war, their words are visualized on the screen. Albert, called to war, is forced to leave his wife Louise alone, while another husband in an enemy village, who is a captain and the father of two children, also leaves to serve his country. Brutalized by the horrors of battle, the captain turns to drink and in his drunken state gradually loses all traces of humanity. Eventually he arrives at Albert's house and, finding Louise alone, rapes her. The war finally ends and Albert returns home, gladdened at the birth of a son. Upon learning that Louise refuses to touch the infant, Albert demands an explanation and Louise relates the story of her humiliation. Furious, Albert seeks to kill the child, but Louise's maternal instincts finally assert themselves and she saves its life. Closing the book, the American family rejoices that America is at peace. 

Production Company: Frank Powell Producing Corp.  
Distribution Company: Mutual Film Corp.; Mutual Star Productions  
Director: Frank Powell (Dir)
  Frank McCormack (Asst dir)
Producer: Frank Powell (Prod)
Writer: Clara S. Beranger (Scen)
  Frederic Arnold Kummer (Story)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Frank Powell Producing Corp. 26/3/1917 dd/mm/yyyy LP10808

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: World War I
 
Subjects (Major): Illegitimacy
  Rape
  War crimes
  World War I
 
Subjects (Minor): Soldiers

Note: Actual scenes of the fighting on the Western front were edited into this film. Actress Agnes Eyre was also known as Agnes Ayres. Frederic Arnold Kummer's story may have originally been produced as a play. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   27 Jan 17   p. 538.
MPN   7 Apr 17   p. 2914.
MPW   7 Apr 17   p. 114, 157
  27 Jul 17   p. 27.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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