The Flag Maker (1927)

Drama | 1927

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HISTORY

The 7 Jul 1926 Var reported that John Francis Dwyer's three magazine stories, "Land of the Pilgrim's Pride," "The Immigrant," and "The American," were the basis for The American, the working title of the film. However, director J. Stuart Blackton told the 11 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World that the story was suggested to him by "the late Colonel Theodore Roosevelt."
       The 11 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World and 18 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News reported that production on The American would begin around 20 Dec 1926 at the Vitagraph Studios in Hollywood and be completed “on or about” 25 Feb 1927. The project was the culmination of a $3-million “process” developed by the producer, George K. Spoor, to create what the 21 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News called “the first natural vision (stereoscopic) screen drama.” Spoor and director J. Stuart Blackton were casting for The American in mid-Dec 1926 and hoped to finish the film in time to premiere it at New York City’s new Roxy Theatre, which was being equipped to show “natural vision” films. The 18 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World hinted further that The American might be “a talking picture.”
       By Jan 1927, Blackton had signed Bessie Love and Charles Ray as the protagonists, and Ward Crane as the villain. The Mar 1927 Photoplay noted that filming was taking place at the Fine Arts Studios in Hollywood, rather than at Vitagraph.
       The Jun 1927 Motion Picture Magazine described the stereoscopic process in more detail. “Natural vision” films had been made ...

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The 7 Jul 1926 Var reported that John Francis Dwyer's three magazine stories, "Land of the Pilgrim's Pride," "The Immigrant," and "The American," were the basis for The American, the working title of the film. However, director J. Stuart Blackton told the 11 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World that the story was suggested to him by "the late Colonel Theodore Roosevelt."
       The 11 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World and 18 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News reported that production on The American would begin around 20 Dec 1926 at the Vitagraph Studios in Hollywood and be completed “on or about” 25 Feb 1927. The project was the culmination of a $3-million “process” developed by the producer, George K. Spoor, to create what the 21 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News called “the first natural vision (stereoscopic) screen drama.” Spoor and director J. Stuart Blackton were casting for The American in mid-Dec 1926 and hoped to finish the film in time to premiere it at New York City’s new Roxy Theatre, which was being equipped to show “natural vision” films. The 18 Dec 1926 Moving Picture World hinted further that The American might be “a talking picture.”
       By Jan 1927, Blackton had signed Bessie Love and Charles Ray as the protagonists, and Ward Crane as the villain. The Mar 1927 Photoplay noted that filming was taking place at the Fine Arts Studios in Hollywood, rather than at Vitagraph.
       The Jun 1927 Motion Picture Magazine described the stereoscopic process in more detail. “Natural vision” films had been made before, but they were “short-length subjects and freak affairs in which the stereoscopic effect was gained by audiences viewing the screen thru glasses supplied each individual seat in the theater.” However, The American was shot in an “amazing new process” that Swedish inventor Dr. P. John Berggren (also spelled Bergren) developed for Spoor, the cofounder of the Essenay Studio in Chicago. A large, 200-pound stereoscopic camera was shipped to Hollywood, but since there was no natural vision projector at the studio to screen dailies, a second, normal camera had to be used alongside it in order for the director to see if the scenes went as planned. The magazine contained photographs of two scenes that had already been shot. In one, a crowd gathered at a railroad station to see “the boys leaving for war”; in the other, a family of seven appeared to be posing for a portrait.
       In the 6 Oct 1927 Hollywood Vagabond, director Blackton issued a reply to a recent statement by Spoor that the three-dimensional film, now called The Flag Maker, “was poorly made.” Blackton stated that only the public could determine the value of the picture, “and the public has not yet seen this film.” He believed it would appeal to a general audience “provided I were permitted to complete the picture which I have not been able to do.” It is unclear whether The Flag Maker was ever commercially screened.
       George K. Spoor's first credited natural vision release was Danger Lights (1930, see entry).

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Vagabond
10 Feb 1927
p. 2
Hollywood Vagabond
6 Oct 1927
p. 1
Motion Picture Magazine
Jun 1927
p. 57
Motion Picture News
18 Dec 1926
p. 34
Motion Picture News
7 Jan 1927
p. 49
Motion Picture News
21 Jan 1927
p. 227
Motion Picture News
18 Feb 1927
p. 564
Moving Picture World
11 Dec 1926
p. 1
Moving Picture World
18 Dec 1926
p. 484
Photoplay
Mar 1927
p. 102
Variety
7 Jul 1926
p. 13
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt and continuity
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog, Natural Vision
2d photog, Natural Vision
Photog, 35mm
Tech staff
Tech staff
PRODUCTION MISC
Gen mgr, Spoor-Blackton Co.
SOURCES
LITERARY
From three magazine stories by John Francis Dwyer: "Land of the Pilgrim's Pride," "The Immigrant," and "The American."
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The American
The Flagmaker
Release Date:
1927
Production Date:
10 Dec 1926 -- late Feb 1927
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
63mm, Spoor-Berggren Natural Vision Process
Country:
United States
Language:
English
GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
World War I


Subject
Subject (Major):

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

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World War I
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.