Volume 2: Filmography

 

THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY

 

(Jewel Productions, Inc.)

September 9, 1917 (Sunday)

Length: 6 reels

Character: Drama

Director: Ernest C. Warde

Scenario: Lloyd F. Lonergan's adaptation and modernization of Edward Everett Hale's 1863 story of the same name

Cast: Florence LaBadie (Barbara Norton, a patriotic American girl; also "Columbia"), H.E. Herbert (Philip Nolan), J.H. Gilmour (Captain Banforth), Carey L. Hastings (Mrs. Blair), Ernest Howard (Phineas Blair), Charles Dungan (Pop Milton), Wilbert Shields, George Marlo

Notes: 1. This film was released by Jewel Productions, Inc., a firm founded in August 1917. The principal officers were Harry Barman and Leon J. Bamburger. Offices were maintained at the Mecca Building, Room 405, 1600 Broadway, New York City. Jewel purchased films outright from various manufacturers and released them on a states rights or other contract basis. The firm's first film was Come Through, acquired from the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, after the picture had been shown in New York City. Then, Pay Me was acquired as the firm's second film. During its early operations, Jewel acquired pictures from a variety of sources, including one film from Thanhouser. Later, Jewel became a branch of Universal. 2. An article in The Moving Picture World, September 22, 1917, gave the length of this film as six reels, which is believed to be correct. A review in The Moving Picture World, September 29, 1917, gave the length as five reels. 3. The August 18, 1917 issue of The Moving Picture World announced that the Frohman Amusement Company was making a version of The Man Without a Country, directed by John W. Noble, for release about August 10th.

 

BACKGROUND OF THE SCENARIO: The Thanhouser work was an adaptation and modernization of the best-known work of Edward Everett Hale. The author was born in Boston in 1822, the son of Nathan Hale, editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser, who was the nephew of the Revolutionary War patriot of the same name. Edward Everett Hale entered Harvard at age 13 and completed his education four years later, after which he entered the ministry, becoming ordained as a Unitarian minister in 1846. In 1863, while working with the Sanitary Commission in the Civil War, he produced for the December number of The Atlantic Monthly the short story, "The Man Without a Country," a patriotic work whose fame has endured to the present day. His other efforts, most of them in a religious or humanitarian vein, quickly faded into obscurity. Hale's death occurred in 1909.

 

ADVERTISEMENT by Jewel Productions, Inc., The Moving Picture World, September 15, 1917:

"We have thus far acquired the rights to only five pictures after examining a large number. One was made by Edwin Thanhouser, with the intention of selling it on a state rights plan; but we acquired the world's rights.... The Man Without a Country - the patriotic classic."

 

ARTICLE, The Morning Telegraph, September 9, 1917:

"Much interest attaches to the premiere tonight of the Thanhouser film version of the Edward Everett Hale patriotic story, The Man Without a Country, which Jewel Productions, Inc., brings into the Broadway Theatre for a two weeks' run, with Florence LaBadie and H.E. Herbert as the stars. Ernest C. Warde is the director and Lloyd Lonergan did the screen version. Jewel Productions, Inc., secured the timely feature two weeks ago from Thanhouser and will offer it for distribution on the state rights plan."

 

ARTICLE, The Moving Picture World, September 15, 1917:

"The Man Without a Country, Edward Everett Hale's appeal to patriotism, is the basis of a multiple-reel photoplay produced by the Thanhouser Film Corporation which Jewel Productions, Inc. will present at the Broadway Theatre, beginning September 9, featuring Florence LaBadie and H.E. Herbert, supported by an excellent cast. The version is the work of Lloyd Lonergan, after the story written by Mr. Hale in the summer of 1863. Ernest C. Warde, producer of many well known photoplays, including The Vicar of Wakefield, is responsible for the staging of the Hale story...."

 

ARTICLE, The Moving Picture World, September 29, 1917:

"The premiere of the Thanhouser version of Edward Everett Hale's patriotic masterpiece, The Man Without a Country, was made the occasion of a gala evening at the Broadway Theatre, Sunday, when Jewel Productions, Inc. presented the feature as Florence LaBadie and H.E. Herbert in the stellar roles. Flag-draped boxes were filled with government and city officials, together with men of the army and navy, including Brigadier General Eli D. Hoile, and his staff, Captain Charles A. Adams, U.S.N., and men of the U.S.S. recruit and a large detachment of boy scouts. The patriotic fervor of the occasion was heightened by the patriotic verse of James L. Heron, secretary of the Canadian Club, one of a series of speakers furnished by the Mayor's Committee of National Defense to contribute speakers each evening at the Broadway during the two weeks' New York run of the timely feature. Etta Weiman gave vocal numbers.... Jewel Productions, Inc. two weeks ago acquired the picture from the Thanhouser Film Corporation and will offer it for distribution as the fourth of a standard series which they will offer to the trade, the first being Come Through, the second, Pay Me, with Dorothy Phillips, and the third, Sirens of the Sea."

 

REVIEW, The Los Angeles Examiner, October 15, 1917:

"Florence LaBadie is the featured artist and photographs effectively except for the first reel, where she is a trifle disappointing. She wears dinner frocks with distinction as the patriotic young society woman, and the Red Cross veil is especially becoming to her in the field hospitals of France. The plot incorporates romance and patriotism with nice balance, and the conflict is that of the soldier and the pacifist, and not of warring nations. It is notable that the few battle scenes are highly pictorial and almost without the usual gruesome details. Battlemented towers, fast riding cavalry, and magnificent lighting effects contribute to the beauty of the photoplay."

 

REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, September 10, 1917:

"The Man Without a Country, a photo-play produced by Thanhouser and featuring Florence LaBadie and H.E. Herbert, was presented last night for the first time in public at the Broadway Theatre, where it will continue for two weeks. The film offering is a version of Edward Everett Hale's patriotic story, which Lloyd Lonergan turned into a modern scenario. The direction was by Ernest C. Warde. The story is that of John Alton, a wealthy young American residing in New York prior to America's entrance into the World War. He is a pacifist - a member of a peace organization whose motto is, 'Peace at any price,' and he is engaged to Barbara Blair, daughter of Phineas Blair, head of the society and the possessor of convictions all her own. The nature of the speeches when the organization meets at the home of Blair arouse her to action, and Alton finds himself in a peculiar situation which gives him a choice to make. How he decides and the ensuing developments following his strange stand furnishes to the screen a strong story. Miss LaBadie and Herbert are supported by a carefully chosen cast. Herbert is well known and attracted attention first as Billie Burke's leading man about five years ago in Pinero's Mind-the-Paint Girl, later supporting Blanche Bates, Grace George and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as leading man in some of their best-known successes."

 

REVIEW by Frances Agnew, The Morning Telegraph, September 16, 1917:

"In The Man Without a Country, which began a run at the Broadway Theatre last week, Jewel Productions adds another excellent feature to their growing list of specials, this one particularly noteworthy for its timely appeal and its undoubted value in arousing the enthusiasm of America and bringing her citizens to a further realization of their obligation to the country at this crucial time. The author's purpose in writing the world-famous short story, which was first published as a magazine contribution in 1863 - 'to show what now seems, of course, what the word 'patriotism' means, or what one's country is' - is just as wonderfully apparent in the photo-play version as in the book. The film reveals a modern plot into which The Man Without a Country has been effectively woven, being given as a dream or vision whereby Columbia shows the slacker hero that the old story of Philip Nolan is very applicable to himself. Like Nolan he has damned the United States and expressed the wish that he never hear of it again, and in seeing himself as the unfortunate lieutenant of earlier years who was punished by being given his wish, he awakens to a natural love for his country and enlists for service. One of his rewards is the knowledge that his fiancée was not lost on a torpedoed steamer, and he departs for France with her faith in him renewed.

"The vision scenes afford some unusually good double exposure photography, and the subtitles in these scenes are composed from some of the book's most impressive and touching sentences, warranted to bring applause from any audience. The film is well described as a 'warning to the slackers and a message to the patriots.' and is a conclusive argument against the ideas of the pacifist. Florence LaBadie as the heroine and also as Columbia in the vision scenes is attractive and appealing in her work, and H.E. Herbert, her co-star, an admirable type for the slacker hero and Philip Nolan. As the latter character grows older, he shows his knowledge of make-up, and his portrayal proves that he is one of the most capable of recent recruits to filmland from the stage. As a whole, this modern photoplay on The Man Without a Country is an admirable feature of more than timely appeal both in theme and production, decidedly entertaining and a sure drawing card for any exhibitor."

 

REVIEW by Edward Weitzel, The Moving Picture World, September 29, 1917:

"In adapting Edward Everett Hale's famous story, The Man Without a Country, for the screen, Lloyd Lonergan, who made the scenario for the Thanhouser Company, recognized the necessity of supplying considerable new material in order to produce a five-part picture. To this end the photoplay presents a story within a story, most of the action taking place at the present time and centering around a young man named Philip Nolan. He fails to respond when the call comes for volunteers for service in France, and is totally indifferent to every patriotic appeal. In a moment of anger he uses the same words that Edward Everett Hale put into the mouth of the chief character in this tale: 'Damn the United States! I never want to hear her mentioned again.' A friend of Nolan's hands him a copy of The Man Without a Country, and begs him to read it. He does so and the force of his lesson is brought home to him. He hurries to a recruiting office and enlists.

"There is a love interest connected with the picture, but its chief value lies in its call to duty and its impressive lesson on love of country. The visualization of the Hale classic is brought in naturally and effectively, and the artistic shortcomings of the picture, as a whole, are lost sight of in view of its timeliness and the response its story is bound to command. The average spectator will pass over its slowness of movement, and the lack of engaging qualities in its hero, and feel only the fire of its patriotism and the good Americanism it aims to teach. H.E. Herbert was a wise selection for the character of Philip Nolan, and his mental awakening seemed genuine. Florence LaBadie had the part of a patriotic American girl, and supplied her with the right qualifications. Other well played parts were contributed by J.H. Gilmour, Carey Hastings, Ernest Howard, and Charles Dungan. Ernest C. Warde's direction of the picture is capable, in the main, but his idea of a naval officer's cabin is peculiar."

 

REVIEW, Variety, September 14, 1917: This review is reprinted in the narrative section of the present work.

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.