The Crisis (1916 film)

The Crisis
Directed by Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell (scenario)
Based on The Crisis
by Winston Churchill
Starring George Fawcett
Matt B. Snyder
Marshall Neilan
Music by Michel Mowschine
Cinematography G. McKenzie
Distributed by Selig Polyscope Company
Release dates
  • September 29, 1916 (1916-09-29)

(limited screenings)

  • February 25, 1917 (1917-02-25)

(general release)

Running time
100 mins.
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Crisis is a 1916 American silent historical drama film produced by William N. Selig and directed by Colin Campbell. The film is based on the American Civil War novel The Crisis by American novelist Winston Churchill. The novel was produced adapted into a play and produced on Broadway in 1902.[1]

A copy of this film is preserved at the Library of Congress.[2][3][4][5]



Still of the fighting at Vicksburg

The Crisis sought to mine the success of 1915's The Birth of a Nation.[6] It was popular in theatres, but the United States' entry into World War I in April 1917 effectively ended interest in another Civil War film in light of the new war.[7]

Production notes

The production was shot in part in Mississippi and St. Louis, Missouri. Actor Matt B. Snyder was a real-life Civil War veteran having served in the Union Navy on the gunship USS Essex. Snyder and Sam D. Drane, who portrayed Abraham Lincoln in the film, died prior to its general release in 1917.


  1. The Crisis as produced on Broadway at Wallack's Theatre, Nov-Dec 1902;
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c.1988
  3. Progressive Silent Film List: The Crisis at
  4. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress by The American Film Institute, c.1978
  5. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Archive:The Crisis
  6. Reinhart, Mark S. Abraham Lincoln On Screen, pp. 69-70 (2009)
  7. Erish, Andrew A. Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood, pp. 142-46 (2012) (detailed discussion of the film and its reception)
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