The Making of an American
|The Making of an American|
Advertisement for film in Educational Film Magazine
|Directed by||Guy Hedlund|
|Produced by||Worcester Film Corporation|
|Starring||Emile De Verny|
State of Connecticut Department of Americanization
Worcester Film Corporation
|Distributed by||Worcester Film Corporation|
The Making of an American is a 1920 short silent film used as an educational tool in the governmental Americanization initiatives to assimilate immigrants into mainstream culture, especially by encouraging them to learn the English language. It was produced for the State of Connecticut Department of Americanization by the Worcester Film Corp., a company founded in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts.The film was rediscovered and preserved by Northeast Historic Film (NHF) a regional moving image archive in New England.
Synopsis of film
An enterprising young Italian who comes to America is forced to take a position as a day laborer, which is far below his ability and standard of living, solely because he cannot speak English. Even a laborer, however, must know the language of the country where he is employed, as Pete soon found to his cost. An unattended freight elevator, a sign in English that he could not read, a struggle of an instant, and then the hospital. It was a sadder and wiser man who came out a few weeks later. When he passed the post office, and a saw a sign in several languages calling upon foreigners to learn English, and to attend night school, he was prepared for the message that was destined to change the entire course of his life. Night school for Pete was the result. Anyone familiar with such work will experience anew the keen realization of what it means to the newcomer, the crowded roomful of eager listeners, trying so hard, following so patiently and docilely, the enthusiastic teacher's efforts, in short, the making of Pete. He now is able to secure a suitable position and rises rapidly.
- Education Film Magazine (1920)
- Emile De Verny - Italian immigrant
Production and background
Vintage Connecticut government reports on the making of the film and its dissemination, indicate that the film was shown to more than 112,500 people the year it was made, and that copies were sold to other states interested in Americanization programs. The film was targeted to industrial workers and contains location filming at the Hartford Rubber Works Company. The film was lost until 1999 when Alan Kattelle donated a film copy among a collection of other reels to Northeast Historic Film. The Kattelle print was on 28mm film stock, an extremely rare format that was primarily used for educational film distribution from 1913 to 1923.
- "The Making of an American". Northeast Historic Film.
- Daniel Eagan (2010). America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry. A&C Black. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-8264-2977-3.
- Sheryl Cannady (December 20, 2005). "Librarian of Congress Adds 25 Films to National Film Registry". Library of Congress.
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