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The Spirit of '76 (1917)

Catherine Montour (Adda Gleason), a striking half-breed Indian princess, and mistress of King George III (Jack Cosgrove) aspires to become the first Queen of America when the revolution breaks out.


George Siegmann


Robert Goldstein (scenario), George L. Hutchin (scenario)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Adda Gleason ... Catherine Montour
Howard Gaye Howard Gaye ... Lionel Esmond
George Chesebro ... Walter Butler (as George Chesborough)
Dark Cloud ... Joseph Brant (as Chief Dark Cloud)
Doris Pawn ... Madeline Brant
Jack Cosgrave Jack Cosgrave ... George III (as Jack Cosgrove)
Norval MacGregor ... Lorimer Steuart (as Norval McGregor)
Jane Novak ... Cecil Steuart
William Colby William Colby ... Sir John Johnson
Lottie Kruse Lottie Kruse ... Peggy Johnson (as Lottie Cruez)
Chief John Big Tree ... Gowah (as Chief Big Tree)
William Freeman ... Lord Chatham
W.E. Lawrence ... Captain Boyd (as William Lawrence)
Noah Beery ... George Washington
Ben Lewis Ben Lewis ... Benjamin Franklin




Catherine Montour and her brother, Lionel Esmond, are separated at childhood. Catherine then goes to England where she becomes mistress to George III. Aspiring to become queen of America, Catherine enlists George in her cause. When the colonies go to war with England, Paul Revere announces the arrival of the British, colonists and British troops exchange fire at the Battle of Lexington, and the Declaration of Independence is signed. The winter at Valley Forge, the Cherry Valley massacre and the surrender of Cornwallis occur, during which Catherine and her brother fall in love with each other. They are about to be married when they learn that they are siblings. Catherine, her ambitions crushed, attempts to return to the king's grace but fails. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


Did You Know?


Robert Goldstein was sentenced to 10 years in prison (later commuted by the president to 3 years) under Woodrow Wilson's Sedition Act of 1917 for producing this movie, because it depicted the British (who were US allies in WWI) unfavorably. See more »


Walter Butler: [intertitle] Your foul lies have aroused my wrath!
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User Reviews

Robert Goldstein's Lost Spirit
2 May 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

During the American Revolution, part-Native American Indian royalist Adda Gleason (as Catherine Montour) conspires with enemy forces (considering the war's outcome) to become the first "Queen of America". She gets a jumps start by being a favorite mistress of Great Britain's King George III (Jack Cosgrove). During the war, Ms. Gleason falls in love with sympathetic Howard Gaye (as Lionel Esmond), who unknowingly holds a shocking secret - he's not only the would-be Queen's lover, but also her brother!

That wasn't what got producer Robert Goldstein's "The Spirit of '76" in trouble; rather, it was the film's depiction of British atrocities, including rape and baby-killing, during the American Revolution. Moreover, Mr. Goldstein was a German; at the time, the US and the UK were aligned to fight against the Germans in the Great War (World War II). Goldstein was sent to prison for film-making, unfortunately; and, no prints of his infamous film are known to have survived the ages.

The best way to experience the spirit of the film is through the pages and pictures in Anthony Slide's book "Robert Goldstein and The Spirit of '76" (Scarecrow Press, 1993). The book has to be more interesting than the film, which could be described as a D.W. Griffith-inspired flicker, with some well-staged scenes.

***** The Spirit of '76 (11/28/17) Robert Goldstein ~ Adda Gleason, Howard Gaye, Jack Cosgrove

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Release Date:

January 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

76年の精神 See more »


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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