Convoy (1927)

75 mins | Melodrama | 7 May 1927

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HISTORY

The picture was based on John Taintor Foote’s short story, "The Song of the Dragon," which first appeared in the 12 Nov and 19 Nov 1921 editions of The Saturday Evening Post, and was later published as a short story collection under the same title in 1923. Foote’s story was also reported to have been the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film, Notorious.
       The 18 Jul 1926 FD announced that independent producer Robert Kane would make the picture in New York City, under the title The Song of the Dragon, with Sam Hardy set to star. On 12 Sep 1926, FD reported that Holbrook Blinn had also been cast, and Lothar Mendes would direct the film, with Ernest Haller as director of photography. However, Hardy and Blinn did not remain with the project. Dorothy Mackaill was named as the female lead in the 13 Sep 1926 FD.
       According to the 3 Oct 1926 FD, principal photography was set to begin the following day at the Cosmopolitan Studios in New York City. Mendes was still attached to direct, at that time, and Charles McQuire was listed as his assistant director. Joseph C. Boyle was named as the production manager. The start was delayed until 11 Oct 1926, as announced in the 10 Oct 1926 FD. William Schurr was named as Haller’s camera assistant, and Eddie Hollander was added to the cast.
       The 6 Nov 1926 Motion Picture News reported that exterior shooting was underway in Washington, D.C., and the cast had paid a visit to President Coolidge at the White House on ... More Less

The picture was based on John Taintor Foote’s short story, "The Song of the Dragon," which first appeared in the 12 Nov and 19 Nov 1921 editions of The Saturday Evening Post, and was later published as a short story collection under the same title in 1923. Foote’s story was also reported to have been the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film, Notorious.
       The 18 Jul 1926 FD announced that independent producer Robert Kane would make the picture in New York City, under the title The Song of the Dragon, with Sam Hardy set to star. On 12 Sep 1926, FD reported that Holbrook Blinn had also been cast, and Lothar Mendes would direct the film, with Ernest Haller as director of photography. However, Hardy and Blinn did not remain with the project. Dorothy Mackaill was named as the female lead in the 13 Sep 1926 FD.
       According to the 3 Oct 1926 FD, principal photography was set to begin the following day at the Cosmopolitan Studios in New York City. Mendes was still attached to direct, at that time, and Charles McQuire was listed as his assistant director. Joseph C. Boyle was named as the production manager. The start was delayed until 11 Oct 1926, as announced in the 10 Oct 1926 FD. William Schurr was named as Haller’s camera assistant, and Eddie Hollander was added to the cast.
       The 6 Nov 1926 Motion Picture News reported that exterior shooting was underway in Washington, D.C., and the cast had paid a visit to President Coolidge at the White House on 31 Oct 1926. First National Pictures, Inc. was announced as the film’s distributor.
       The 16 Nov 1926 FD noted the title change to Womanhood.
       According to the 21 Nov 1926 FD, Lothar Mendes and Dorothy Mackaill were married at New York’s City Hall on 17 Nov 1926. The Feb 1927 Photoplay reported that the impromptu wedding happened after Mendes was unexpectedly fired from his directing duties by First National. Mackaill resumed work without Mendes the following day, where Joseph C. Boyle was named as his replacement. Within weeks, the newlyweds were separated when Mendes left for Hollywood, CA, to work for Famous Players-Lasky Corp. The 4 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News indicated that the German director and the starlet had met on set and were married after a six-week courtship. Mendes and Mackaill were divorced in 1928.
       Motion Picture News stated that filming was expected to be completed by mid-Dec 1926, and a Feb or Mar 1927 release date was anticipated. Robert Haas was named as art director on the picture, for which the US Navy was offering their participation. The 2 May 1927 FD noted that filming had taken place aboard the SS Seattle, and the 11 May 1927 Var reported that Naval footage of “the actual sinking of an Austrian battleship in the Adriatic Sea” was used for scenes in the picture, which was set during World War I.
       The 11 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World announced that cutting of the film was currently underway, being supervised by Paul F. Maschke. Harry Gribbon was noted as having served as assistant director to Boyle. The 18 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News added Lucia Backus Seger to the cast. On 2 Jan 1927, FD reported that Louis Sherwin was titling the picture. The 7 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News stated that Boyle and production manager Leland Hayward had assisted Maschke in the editing.
       The 11 Jan 1927 FD announced the title change to Convoy.
       According to the 21 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News, the picture was three-months in production and had nearly a $1 million budget.
       The 13 and 20 Feb 1927 FD indicated that the picture was being re-worked, as James O. Spearing was reportedly now cutting and editing the picture, and Beth Brown was writing the titles.
       On 2 May 1927, FD announced that Convoy would open at the Mark Strand Theatre in New York on 7 May 1927. An advanced screening was scheduled for Government officials in Washington, D.C. on 3 May 1927.
       According to the 11 May 1927 Var, the film title had received the subtitle: Convoy: The Big Parade of the Navy. Following a National Press Club screening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. on 4 May 1927, the Navy was reportedly displeased with the picture, and had initially indicated that they would possibly refuse participating with motion picture productions in the future. The Navy later retracted its position, but “admitted that the picture was not up to expectations.”
       The 11 May 1927 Var reviewed the film simply as Convoy, and agreed with the Navy’s sentiments that the picture would do no help as “recruiting propaganda,” deeming it “barren of sensationalism and weary in plot.” Additional complaints were that “a large chunk” of the film appeared to be missing, indicating that it may have been censored. The 15 May 1927 FD offered a more favorable review, stating that the “strong patriotic influence” would stir up enthusiasm. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
18 Jul 1926
p. 2.
Film Daily
12 Sep 1926
p. 8.
Film Daily
13 Sep 1926
p. 2.
Film Daily
3 Oct 1926
p. 8.
Film Daily
10 Oct 1926
p. 11.
Film Daily
16 Nov 1926
p. 6.
Film Daily
21 Nov 1926
p. 21.
Film Daily
2 Jan 1927
p. 7.
Film Daily
11 Jan 1927
p. 5.
Film Daily
13 Feb 1927
p. 7.
Film Daily
20 Feb 1927
p. 9.
Film Daily
2 May 1927
p. 4.
Film Daily
15 May 1927
p. 6.
Motion Picture News
6 Nov 1926
p. 1747.
Motion Picture News
13 Nov 1926
p. 1840.
Motion Picture News
4 Dec 1926
p. 2131, 2150.
Motion Picture News
18 Dec 1926
p. 2318.
Motion Picture News
7 Jan 1927
p. 46.
Motion Picture News
21 Jan 1927
p. 225.
Moving Picture World
11 Dec 1926
p. 415.
New York Times
9 May 1927
p. 26.
Photoplay
Feb 1927
pp. 46-47.
Picture-Play Magazine
Mar 1927
pp. 34-35, 107, 111.
Variety
4 May 1927
p. 59.
Variety
11 May 1927
p. 4, 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Song of the Dragon" by John Taintor Foote, that first appeared as a two-issue serial in the 12 Nov and 19 Nov 1921 The Saturday Evening Post. The story was later published in the short story collection The Song of the Dragon (New York, 1923).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Song of the Dragon
Womanhood
Convoy: The Big Parade of the Navy
Release Date:
7 May 1927
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 May 1927
Production Date:
11 October--early December 1926
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 April 1927
Copyright Number:
LP23841
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in feet):
7,724
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Sylvia Dodge is engaged to Eugene Weyeth, best friend of her brother, John, when war is declared; and both young men enlist in the Navy. Smith, a secret service operative, informs Sylvia that Ernest Drake, one of her most persistent admirers, is the leader of a German spy ring and persuades her to encourage his companionship so as to learn his contacts and methods. Found in Drake's apartment by her brother and fiancé, Sylvia is disowned by her family; and when Drake is arrested, she leaves home. Attempting to learn the location of her brother from sailors at the Navy Yard, Sylvia is arrested as a streetwalker and sentenced to a year on Blackwells Island. In a great naval conflict, combined British and American fleets repell the Germans in Keil Harbor, and John is killed. After the Armistice, Sylvia is reunited with Eugene at her brother's ... +


Sylvia Dodge is engaged to Eugene Weyeth, best friend of her brother, John, when war is declared; and both young men enlist in the Navy. Smith, a secret service operative, informs Sylvia that Ernest Drake, one of her most persistent admirers, is the leader of a German spy ring and persuades her to encourage his companionship so as to learn his contacts and methods. Found in Drake's apartment by her brother and fiancé, Sylvia is disowned by her family; and when Drake is arrested, she leaves home. Attempting to learn the location of her brother from sailors at the Navy Yard, Sylvia is arrested as a streetwalker and sentenced to a year on Blackwells Island. In a great naval conflict, combined British and American fleets repell the Germans in Keil Harbor, and John is killed. After the Armistice, Sylvia is reunited with Eugene at her brother's grave. +

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.