GenreBiography, Drama, Romance ScreenplayH.A. DuSouchet CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles) DirectorTravers Vale, George Cowl Release dateSeptember 17, 1917 (1917-09-17) WriterHenry A. Du Souchet CastAlice Brady (Betsy Griscom), John Bowers (Joseph Ashburn), Lillian Cook (Carissa Griscom), Victor Kennard (John Ross), Eugenie Woodward (Mrs. Ashburn), Kate Lester (Mrs. Vernon) Similar moviesThe Man from Mexico (1914), My Friend from India (1927), Way Down East (1920)
Betsy Ross is a surviving 1917 American silent historical film starring Alice Brady and produced and distributed by her father William A. Brady.
As described in a film magazine, Betsy Griscome (Brady), against the wishes of her Quaker parents, keeps a tryst with a British officer, Clarence Vernon (Mayo), who promises to marry her upon his return. Clarissa (Cook), her sister, falls in love and marries Joseph Ashburn (Bowers), a trader. Suspecting Vernon of duplicity, Joseph and Vernon fight a duel and Vernon is struck down. A year later Betsy marries John Ross (Kennard), and upon his death she operates a little shop for a living. Here she shields her sister, who was driven from home when she could not produce her marriage certificate. Betsy is commissioned by General Washington (MacQuarrie) to make the first American flag and later is accused of harboring a spy - in reality, her sister's husband. The film ends happily when all relations are explained.
Alice Brady - Betsy Ross
John Bowers - Joseph Ashburn
Lillian Cook - Carissa Griscom
Victor Kennard - John Ross
Eugenie Woodward - Mrs. Ashburn
Kate Lester - Mrs. Vernon
Frank Mayo - Clarence Vernon
George MacQuarrie - George Washington
Justine Cutting - Mrs. Griscom
Robert Forsyth - Samuel Griscom
Nellie Fillmore - Mrs. Bass
Richard Clarke - Lemuel Ketch
Like many American films of the time, Betsy Ross was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. The Chicago Board of Censors required cuts of scenes of a sword thrust during the duel, killing of second man in duel, the two intertitles "Scarlet woman" and "Don't you dare kill the Vernon nigger," the scene with a duel vision, and the actual firing of the squad at the execution.