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Contemporary audiences know director Thomas Ince not for his body of work, but for his infamously mysterious death in 1924 aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Ince was, in fact, an accomplished and prolific producer-director who made more than 150 films in 1913 alone. In his film Civilization, a once hawkish count betrays his war-mongering king by suddenly embracing pacifism and drowning himself as a sacrifice to peace. Furious, the king orders his scientists to resurrect the count, but is instead met by Christ, who now inhabits the count's body. Christ horrifies the king with graphic visions of war's carnage, and the repentant monarch vows to devote his life to peace.
By 1916, most Americans no longer favored isolationism, however, and audiences sentenced the film to death at the box office.
Civilization was added to the National Film Registry in 1999.
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