This film is part of Free

Keep the Home Fires Burning

Two sisters love the same man - one marries him, but the effects of WWI complicate their relationship

War 1916 16 mins Silent


The survival of relationships as conscription took men from their wives and children was a preoccupation for filmmakers during WWI. This modest drama was one of several produced by husband and wife team Ernest and Ethyle Batley – she directed, he was the producer and actor and their daughter Dorothy was often their juvenile lead (she plays the unmarried sister here). The plot of this one-reel film could easily have been expanded into a feature-length production, and shows ambition in its use of location footage.

As Britain's only female director of the silent era, it's a real shame that we don't have more of Batley's films. Only three survive, but who knows how she may have developed as a filmmaker in the easier post-war era, with longer films and higher production values. Unfortunately, her life was cut short and she died in 1917, mourned as a woman who "won the affection and respect of all who knew her by her kindness and her outstanding capabilities as an artist, and also as a businesswoman."