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The Man Without a Country (1917)

Convicted in a revolutionary conspiracy, a man rashly states that he wishes never again to hear the name of the United States of America. The judge grants him his wish, sentencing him to ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Lt. Philip Nolan (as H.E. Herbert)
Ernest Howard ...
Phineas Blair
Wilbert Shields ...
Undetermined Role
George Marlo ...
Tom Norton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Dungan ...


Convicted in a revolutionary conspiracy, a man rashly states that he wishes never again to hear the name of the United States of America. The judge grants him his wish, sentencing him to life aboard a ship always at sea, aboard with sailors under orders never to let him hear of his homeland in any way. The punishment nearly destroys him, while changing him thoroughly. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

9 September 1917 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Remade as My Own United States (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

Florence's Last Film!!
27 December 2014 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

1917 was a sad year for the Thanhouser Company. They were a small studio that operated out of New Rochelle and were able to give their films a spaciousness (parks and wide streets etc) that other studios just couldn't match. They also had the foresight to realise that the writing was on the wall as far as short films were concerned and in 1916 only feature films were produced by them. But in September 1917 Florence La Badie was involved in a car accident and after two months of clinging to life, died of her injuries. La Badie was their leading star and after that, Thanhouser, which was like a big family company, just gave up. By October, the studio was almost idle with no one on the premises.

Holmes Herbert was a beloved character actor of almost 200 films but he wasn't always old and in this patriotic movie, made at a time when Americans were being encouraged to volunteer for war service, he played John Alton, a devoted pacifist who meets orphan Barbara (La Badie) when she is staying at her uncle's house which is where the local Peace Brigade meets once a month. Barbara however doesn't share their views. Her father was killed in a war and she is fiercely patriotic and breaks her engagement to John because he will not put aside his peaceful views.

Barbara goes to France as a volunteer Red Cross nurse but sympathies are changing back home and John now finds himself almost a pariah for his views. An old club member who was best friends with his father gives him Edward Everett Hale's "The Man Without a Country" to read after he hears John utter the same words at the club "D--m the United States"!! Barbara comes to him in a vision and gives him a first hand look at the story of Lt. Philip Nolan who for his same treasonous remarks in 1805 was sentenced to exile on a drifting boat, forbidden to hear or ask anything about the United States for the rest of his life. Nolan ends his life clinging to a little scrap of American history a sympathetic friend has confided to him, and this story, together with the anxiety of receiving no news from Barbara who has been lost at sea, is enough to hurry John along to the nearest recruitment agency.

This is a gently patriotic film - sold very much on the premise of being based on Edward Everett Hale's powerful short story which really only took up about 10-12 minutes of the actual film. Sadly it became known as beautiful Florence La Badie's last film.

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