Film (Post-1918) Compared with the largely propagandistic style of films before 1918, postwar films reflected the immense destruction and cost of the war by making a different choice of material and narrative method. With the exception of a boom in explicitly anti-German films in the United States, which lasted a considerable time beyond the Armistice (the most significant of these is probably
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Rex Ingram, 1921), film transferred its main attention to experiences of loss, sorrow, and death.
J’accuse (Abel Gance, France, 1919), with its pacifist message, may be regarded as the first example of this new tendency. But films about the war just ended did not begin to appear in greater numbers until the mid twenties. Even then, they only rarely gave any appreciable space to a negative portrayal of the enemy (only marginally, e.g. in
Wings: William Wellman, United States, 1927, or
Morgenrot (Dawn): Gustav Ucicky, Germany, 1933). Instead, the dominant emphasis was on a small group of characters whose experience of the war leaves…