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Silent Serial SensationsThe Wharton Brothers and the Magic of Early Cinema$
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Barbara Tepa Lupack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748189

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748189.001.0001

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Staring into The Eagle’s Eye

Staring into The Eagle’s Eye

(p.207) Chapter 13 Staring into The Eagle’s Eye
Silent Serial Sensations

Barbara Tepa Lupack

Cornell University Press

This chapter recounts how, despite serious financial woes and impending bankruptcy, the Wharton brothers pressed forward with a new serial. Using the profits from their feature The Great White Trail, they entered into a contract with the recently retired chief of the United States Secret Service William J. Flynn and, with much ado, began making preparations for the filming of a multipart patriotic picture, The Eagle's Eye (1918). Their first serial production since the Hearst-backed Patria, it had a similarly nationalistic theme, and it would, they believed, restore them to prominence and solvency. Whereas Patria indulged Hearst's conspiracy theories about a Mexican–Japanese alliance intent on invading the United States at its western border, The Eagle's Eye was based on actual German spy plots that Flynn had discovered and thwarted. While The Eagle's Eye was the only feature picture that the brothers produced in 1918, they completed another short propaganda film of considerable merit: The Mission of the War Chest.

Keywords:   Wharton brothers, William J. Flynn, patriotic picture, The Eagle's Eye, serial production, German spy plots, feature film, propaganda film, short film

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