Thursday, October 10, 2019

All Star Production of Patriotic Episodes for the Second Liberty Loan

All Star Production of Patriotic Episodes for the Second Liberty Loan. William S. Hart, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford.

US 1917.
regia/dir: Marshall Neilan [non accreditato/uncredited].
Ideato e montato da/Conceived and assembled by Herbert F. Rawll, per/for The National Association of the Motion Picture Industry (NAMPI).
cast: Julian Eltinge, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Mary Pickford, Theodore Roberts (impiegato di banca/bank teller), Wilton Lackaye, David Belasco, Woodrow Wilson (se stessi/themselves).
prod: National Association of the Motion Picture Industry (NAMPI).
dist: Metro, Paramount.
uscita/rel: 10.1917.
copia/copy: DCP, DCP, 8’28”; did./titles: ENG.
fonte/source: Library of Congress Packard Center for Audio-Visual Conservation, Culpeper, VA.
    Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM), Pordenone.
    William S. Hart.
    Grand piano: Maud Nelissen.
    Teatro Verdi, e-subtitles in Italian by Underlight, 10 Oct 2019.

Richard Koszarski (GCM): "Two-thirds of the cost of American participation in World War I was funded by the sale of Liberty Bonds, low-interest securities available through banks affiliated with the Federal Reserve System. Some $17 billion was raised in five Liberty Loan campaigns in 1917-19, approximately $284 billion in today’s money. In order to raise this amount at below-market rates, the Committee on Public Information launched an unprecedented promotional campaign mobilizing all aspects of modern media. The motion picture industry became involved on several levels, including the production of advertising films directly encouraging the purchase of bonds. For the Second Liberty Loan campaign (October-November 1917), NAMPI prepared a 3-reel “feature” consisting of five distinct episodes of approximately 500 feet each. Motion Picture News reviewed this film on October 6 under the temporary title Three Billion in Three Weeks, a reference to the goals of the current campaign. It appears that the film was never distributed in this fashion, but was instead offered as five separate subjects, each episode being handled by two of the nation’s leading distributors. Indications as to the content of the other reels are vague, although they were said to have featured a wide array of stage and screen stars, including Ethel Barrymore, Billie Burke, Will Rogers (his first screen appearance?), and John Drew (his only screen appearance)."

"The episode in which Hart appears, described as number two in the series, was available only through Metro and Paramount exchanges (other episodes were distributed by Fox, World, Universal, Vitagraph, etc.). Obviously assembled by Paramount, it is important in the Hart canon because he is presented as the equal of Paramount’s established stars: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Julian Eltinge. In the summer of 1917 Thomas Ince signed with Adolph Zukor, moving his production slate (and Hart’s contract) over to Paramount. In addition to selling Liberty Bonds, this short film also functions as a teaser for Hart’s first Paramount films, which would be released to theaters that same season."

"Packed with patriotic exhortations and stock footage of military maneuvers, there is little time left over for the film’s nominal stars. In fact, each appears in only a single shot, an extended take in which their familiar characters do their bit by purchasing Liberty Bonds in appropriate fashion. Although uncredited at the time, Marshall Neilan, Mary Pickford’s director, is visible in stills working on this set with his four leads. Pickford wears one of the costumes from their current film, A Little Princess, which also featured Theodore Roberts." Richard Koszarski (GCM)

AA: David Belasco introduces – Statue of Liberty – battlefields – Raymond Hitchcock as Uncle Sam – Julian Eltinge, female impersonator – Douglas Fairbanks – William S. Hart swagger – Mary Pickford with a graceful smile as A Little Princess – gags about bond sizes: there are large ones and a tiny one for stingy Mary.


AA: Facebook capsule:

Relevant to Pordenone's commitment to the memory of WWI: big stars such as William S. Hart contributed to the war effort of the U.S.

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