The film is a science fiction drama set in a futuristic 1940 (though this is changed to 1950 in later releases). The plot and aesthetics of the film are heavily influenced by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Two versions of the movie were released on silent and the other with sound. This is the silent version.
In 1940/50, world peace is threatened when the “United States of Europe” comes into conflict with the “Empire of the Atlantic States”. The former comprises Europe, India, the Middle East, Canada, Africa and Australasia. The latter is a combination of the United States and South America.
In the film the prohibition era in America extends to 1940 and the tension is initially caused by bootleggers crossing the borders between territories. One such incident leads to a shoot-out between border guards in which both sides suffer casualties. War looks likely, but the pacifist Peace League intervenes. Meanwhile, we learn that the tension is in fact carefully orchestrated by a sinister terrorist group financed by arms manufacturers. They blow up a rail tunnel under the English Channel. The President of Europe orders a mass enlistment and mobilisation, fearing that the Atlantic States are preparing a sneak attack.
Dr. Seymour, leader of the Peace League, desperately attempts to avert war. His daughter Evelyn seeks to convince her boyfriend Michael, commander of the European air force, not to fight, but he insists he must do his duty. Evelyn says she will leave him.
The European council are divided, but the president decides on war, saying that he will announce the outbreak of hostilities on television.
The terrorists try to kill Dr. Seymour by bombing the Peace League, but Seymour survives. He tells Evelyn to make another effort to stop Michael ordering the airforce to attack, while he appeals directly to the President. Pacifists led by Evelyn demonstrate en masse at the airfield. Michael is uncertain what to do, but Evelyn convinces him to delay the attack. Seymour confronts the President, but is forced, despite his pacifism, to shoot him to stop him making the broadcast…From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Director: Maurice Elvey
Writers: Noel Pemberton-Billing (play) (as Pemberton Billing), L’Estrange Fawcett (scenario)
Stars: Benita Hume, Basil Gill, Humberston Wright