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Making an American Citizen (1912)

Unrated | | Short, Comedy, Drama | 30 October 1912 (USA)
A recent immigrant learns several hard lessons about how husbands in America are expected to behave.





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A husband and wife, belonging to the most ignorant and lowest class of peasantry, emigrate to the United States. On landing in New York, the husband loads a huge bundle on back of his wife, and carrying nothing but a rough walking-stick himself, starts to pass through the Battery, walking behind his wife. Soon a crowd gathers around them, some laughing, jeering, others indignant and threatening, until suddenly a huge American pushes his way through the crowd, stops the wife, takes the bundle off her back, lays his hand on the shoulder of the husband, bending him nearly double, picks up the bundle, places it on his back, and orders him to march on. This is the husband's first lesson in Americanism. Other lessons follow, in which the husband is taught, with an emphasis he cannot doubt, American ways and manners, until after he has been arrested and sent to jail for beating his wife, he becomes thoroughly convinced that old world methods will not do in this strange new world and decides ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy | Drama






Release Date:

30 October 1912 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Становление американского гражданина  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Turner Classic Movies showed a version with a piano score on the soundtrack, and running 16 minutes. See more »


Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting period piece---
22 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

this film is a blatantly xenophobic, weak, and low brow attempt at comedy. A Russian couple comes to America-and husband (complete with a stereotypical beard, hat, and stern look) beats poor wifey at every opportunity til 'corrected' by Anglo-Saxon men, whom of course treat their women like gold. Directed by the first female film director. The value of MAKING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN lies in how accurately it mirrors the times in which it was made. Was this typical of the time, or did reviews criticize the treatment of foreigners?

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