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HISTORY

Producer Robert Goldstein supplied the costumes for D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and invested in it. Griffith, in turn, promised not to make a film about the Revolutionary War during the time that Goldstein was making his film. George Seigmann was scheduled to direct this film. It was shot in Hollywood and at Yosemite Valley, CA. This film, which reportedly cost $200,000 to make, was scheduled to have its premiere in Chicago on 7 May 1917, but was banned by Major Metallus Lucullus Cicero Funkhouser, the head of the Chicago censor board. When Goldstein attempted to show it on 14 May 1917, after cutting several thousand feet, police raided the theater and confiscated the film. It was later shown for a limited engagement in Chicago after objectionable scenes were omitted. Goldstein took control of the film from the creditors of his corporation and presented it at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning 27 Nov 1917.
       After a few showings, the film was confiscated by the Federal Department of Justice, and Goldstein was charged with espionage. It was judged that scenes critical of England during the Revolutionary War could arouse bitterness and sectional feeling against England, which could endanger its alliance with the U.S. during World War I. The battlefield scenes were also deemed offensive on the grounds that they might mitigate against troop recruitment. Specific scenes regarded as objectionable included the bayoneting of a baby by an English officer, the stabbing of an old Quaker by a Hessian, the dragging of a woman by the hair by English soldiers and the carrying of a young woman by an English ... More Less

Producer Robert Goldstein supplied the costumes for D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and invested in it. Griffith, in turn, promised not to make a film about the Revolutionary War during the time that Goldstein was making his film. George Seigmann was scheduled to direct this film. It was shot in Hollywood and at Yosemite Valley, CA. This film, which reportedly cost $200,000 to make, was scheduled to have its premiere in Chicago on 7 May 1917, but was banned by Major Metallus Lucullus Cicero Funkhouser, the head of the Chicago censor board. When Goldstein attempted to show it on 14 May 1917, after cutting several thousand feet, police raided the theater and confiscated the film. It was later shown for a limited engagement in Chicago after objectionable scenes were omitted. Goldstein took control of the film from the creditors of his corporation and presented it at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning 27 Nov 1917.
       After a few showings, the film was confiscated by the Federal Department of Justice, and Goldstein was charged with espionage. It was judged that scenes critical of England during the Revolutionary War could arouse bitterness and sectional feeling against England, which could endanger its alliance with the U.S. during World War I. The battlefield scenes were also deemed offensive on the grounds that they might mitigate against troop recruitment. Specific scenes regarded as objectionable included the bayoneting of a baby by an English officer, the stabbing of an old Quaker by a Hessian, the dragging of a woman by the hair by English soldiers and the carrying of a young woman by an English officer into his chambers. Goldstein was sentenced to prison for ten years. Through the efforts of Harry C. Pearce and H. C. McClung, the film was recut to nine reels and used for propaganda purposes. According to a modern source, President Woodrow Wilson commuted Goldstein's sentence to three years in 1919 and Goldstein was released after having served less than two years of his term. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
9 Jun 17
p. 56.
ETR
18 May 18
p. 1904.
Motog
23 Jun 17
p. 1342.
MPN
7 Oct 16
p. 2220.
MPN
14 Oct 16
p. 2365.
MPN
26 May 17
p. 3300.
MPW
24 Jun 16
p. 2220.
MPW
7 Oct 16
p. 59.
MPW
22 Dec 17
p. 1786.
MPW
29 Dec 17
p. 1947.
MPW
11 May 18
p. 865.
MPW
25 May 18
p. 1145.
MPW
29 Jun 18
p. 1847.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1917
Copyright Claimants:
Continental Producing Co. and Continental Producing Co. of California Continental Producing Co. and Continental Producing Co. of California Continental Producing Co. and Continental Producing Co. of California Continental Producing Co. and Continental Producing Co. of California
Copyright Dates:
28 November 1916 25 January 1917 14 April 1917 3 May 1917
Copyright Numbers:
LU10068 LU10068 LU10702 LU10702
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
9-12
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Half-breed Catherine Montour and her brother, Lionel Esmond, are separated at childhood. Catherine then goes to England where she becomes mistress to George III. Aspiring to become queen of America, Catherine enlists George in her cause. When the colonies go to war with England, Paul Revere announces the arrival of the British, colonists and British troops exchange fire at the Battle of Lexington, and the Declaration of Independence is signed. The winter at Valley Forge, the Cherry Valley massacre and the surrender of Cornwallis occur, during which Catherine and her brother fall in love with each other. They are about to be married when they learn that they are siblings. Catherine, her ambitions crushed, attempts to return to the king's grace but ... +


Half-breed Catherine Montour and her brother, Lionel Esmond, are separated at childhood. Catherine then goes to England where she becomes mistress to George III. Aspiring to become queen of America, Catherine enlists George in her cause. When the colonies go to war with England, Paul Revere announces the arrival of the British, colonists and British troops exchange fire at the Battle of Lexington, and the Declaration of Independence is signed. The winter at Valley Forge, the Cherry Valley massacre and the surrender of Cornwallis occur, during which Catherine and her brother fall in love with each other. They are about to be married when they learn that they are siblings. Catherine, her ambitions crushed, attempts to return to the king's grace but fails. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.