|Director:||Leopold Wharton (chapters 1-10)|
Theodore Wharton (chapters 1-10)
Jacques Jaccard (chapters 11-15)
William Randolph Hearst
John K. Holbrook
|Distributor:||International Film Service|
|Released:||January 14 1917|
|Internet Movie Database entry 0008411|
Patria (1917) is a 15-chapter serial film starring Irene Castle, Milton Sills, and Warner Oland based on the novel The Last of the Fighting Channings by Louis Joseph Vance. It is notable for the first time that Wallace Beery portrays Pancho Villa, a role that he would repeat in Viva Villa! in 1934. Patria was an independent film serial funded by William Randolph Hearst in the lead up to the United States' entry into World War I. The film contained a lot of pro-German propaganda and was subsequently investigated by a Senate Committee. The Argentine title for the film was La Heroina de Nueva York.
Japan conspires with Mexico to invade the United States. They are stopped by the efforts of Elaine Channing.
Patria was financed with "about" $90,000 from William Randolph Hearst. The plot implied that the United States would soon be at war with Japan and Mexico, despite Japan being an ally of the United States at the time. The original plot involves a Mexican invasion, with their Japanese allies, of the southern United States. President Woodrow Wilson asked Hearst to withdraw the serial so that the more anti-Japanese sections could be removed. This left the serial as mostly just anti-Mexican, although some Japanese names remained
The production was investigated by a Senate Committee as German propaganda after World War I. A German propagandist, whose articles had appeared in Hearst newspapers, had written a letter to Franz von Papen explaining the scheme to use a motion picture to deprecate Japan. Captain G. C. Lester of US Military Intelligence, testified that "Patria exploited the very idea which was set forth generally in [the propagandist] Fox's statement."