The Copperhead


1920

Brief Synopsis

Milt Shanks lives a shamed life, hated by his neighbors for having been a traitor to the North in the American Civil War. But Shanks carries with him a secret, one he promised Abraham Lincoln to tell no one.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 25, 1920
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
Distribution Company
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.; A Paramount-Artcraft Special
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Copperhead by Augustus Thomas (New York, 18 Feb 1918) and the novel The Glory of His Country by Frederick Landis (New York, 1910).

Technical Specs

Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,351ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Milt Shanks, a farmer in a small Illinois town, is requested by President Lincoln to infiltrate the Copperheads, a secret organization in sympathy with the South. His friends, wife and son Joey all consider him a traitor, yet he keeps his mission a secret. When Joey is killed in the Battle of Vicksburg, Shanks's wife dies, heartbroken over her son's death and her husband's infamy. Shanks maintains his silence until, years later, in order to win consent for his granddaughter's marriage, he is forced to reveal the story to her fiancé's grandfather. Everyone then realizes Shanks's sacrifice and the past is forgiven.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 25, 1920
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
Distribution Company
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.; A Paramount-Artcraft Special
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Copperhead by Augustus Thomas (New York, 18 Feb 1918) and the novel The Glory of His Country by Frederick Landis (New York, 1910).

Technical Specs

Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,351ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Augustus Thomas' play was based on Frederick Landis' story. Nicholas Schroell, who played Abraham Lincoln in the film, was chosen from among 300 applicants who answered ads placed in New York newspapers. This was the first film for Schroell, a waiter. Doris Rankin and Lionel Barrymore were married at the time of this production. A set representing the village of Millville, IL in 1846, 1861 and 1904 was constructed near Elmhurst, Long Island under the supervision of J. N. Naulty, general manager of Famous Players-Lasky's Eastern studios. According to news items, 200 members of the G. A. R. participated in the film. Reviews credit William P. Carlton with acting in the film, while the 1921 MPSD gives credit to William T. Carleton.