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Wartime heroism reveals the shabbiness of antisemitic prejudice, when a small-town tailor becomes a local hero

War 1920 81 mins Silent


Antisemitism is the unspoken theme of this romantic drama. When the daughter of an English town’s first family falls in love with the local tailor, her parents are horrified. But when he distinguishes himself in WWI, rising to the rank of general and earning a Victoria Cross, their snobbery is reversed. This engaging film depicts many social changes in Edwardian and wartime Britain, including the suffragette movement and the Territorial Army, as well as the softening of prejudice.

Director Thomas Bentley had a long career, making 68 films between 1912 and 1941 (including arguably Britain's first true feature film, Oliver Twist). While the character of tailor-turned-war-hero Edward Smith is purposely spotless, his brother Albert, a tailor working in London, is more of an antisemitic Jewish caricature. London was home to a large, and growing, Jewish community in the early 20th century, and a substantial number worked in tailoring.