This film was also released as Die Letzten Tag von dem Welt-brand (The Last Days Before the War). Director Richard Oswald and screenwriters Heinz Goldberg and Frtiz Wendhausen tackle the near-impossible task of establishing who exactly was responsible for the outbreak of WWI. The answer seems to be "everyone and no one," though the Russians are taken to task for their war-mongering instincts. The huge and stellar cast (including Albert Basserman, Reinhold Schunzel, Alfred Abel and Oskar Homolka) seem awe-struck by the famous characters they're called upon to play; as a result, they come off more as wax effigies than human beings. The American release version of 1914 was outfitted with a prologue and epilogue spoken in English by a renowned military historian. Coincidentally, the incredibly prolific Richard Oswald began his directorial career in 1914.
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