An Anti-War Spy Film

The Bond of Music
R: Charles Kent. B: W.A. Tremayne. D: Charles Kent, Earle Williams, William Shea, Kate Price, Ralph Ince. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

“Oscar, a young lieutenant of the German army, is stopping in a French town getting information. He is passing as a young musician and lodging with Pierre Lenoir. He cultivates a great friendship with Francois Vian, an old ‘cellist, firstly because it helps carry out his disguise and secondly, because he really is fond of music. He learns to like the old man very much. Rumors of a spy being in the town get about and Lenoir’s suspicions are aroused. He confides his suspicions to his sister and shows her an offer of reward for the capture of the spy, which he hopes to gain. Oscar overhears him and flies the house. Lenoir gives the alarm and Oscar is pursued by the gendarmes and people. He takes refuge with Francois and prays to him to save him, confessing who he is. At first Francois is going to give him up, then their bond of musical fellowship is too strong for him. He hides the young German and assists him to escape. A year after the town is taken by the Germans. (…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis

“In 1907 France occupied Mo­rocco; in 1908 Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina; in 1911 Italy joined in, with the invasion of Libya; after Libya, the Ottoman Empire lost more territories in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. These, fronted by Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece, were steered from behind the scenes by the European powers. ‘Vain­queurs et vaincus’ brings news, in report­age form, from the theatres of war. Peace conferences and massive anti-armament demonstrations – such as took place in several towns in 1912 (…) – had no effect. In 1914 a nationalistic war policy won out over the international and non-partisan peace movement of the turn of the century, whose major cham­pion had been Berta von Suttner (1843-1914). As in Suttner’s novel ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ (‘Die Waffen nieder!’ 1889), The Rosary (Lois Weber 1912) and The Bond of Music (Vitagraph 1912) are pow­erful evocations of the devastating effects of war on ordinary people’s lives. Berta von Suttner died in June 1914. Jean Jau­rès, the French socialist pacifist, who had espoused the cause of reconciliation with Germany, was murdered on 31 July 1914 by a right-wing nationalist.”

>>> 1914: High Point of the Spy Film on this site

>>> Films by Charles Kent on this site: The Days of Terror,  Twelfth Night