The Devil's Master 1926

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THE DEVIL'S MASTER, a William Fox production, was filmed, in part, on Santa Cruz Island in 1926. This Silent Film was directed by the Irish-American film director, John Ford (1894-1973), later winner of four Academy Awards. The film starred Janet Gaynor (1906-1984), Academy Awards Best Actress of 1929, and and George O'Brien (1899-1985). The film was later renamed The Blue Eagle. In this 57 minute film, “Rock Island” comes in for three minutes at minutes 41.5 to 44.5 when a drug-smuggling submarine is blown up at Cueva Valdez.

In the News~

July 7, 1926 [SBDN]: “Early yesterday afternoon a company of forty-nine actors, directors and mechanics of the Fox Film Company returned on the Sea Wolf from Santa Cruz Island where they had been filming The Devil’s Master. The picture is a melodrama dealing with dope smuggling, and most of the island scenes were shot at Valdez Harbor and Painted Cave. A submarine, 120 feet long, was built by studio workmen, and after a number of pictures were taken on board, the submarine was blown up. The Devil's Master is under the direction of John Ford, who directed The Iron Horse, and the lead is taken by George O’Brien. Other members of the cast include Bill Russell, who was formerly with the American Film Company in Santa Barbara, Joe Moore, the younger brother of Tom and Matt Moore, and Ralph Sipperley, who starred in The Fall Guy in New York last winter. The feminine lead is taken by Jeanette Gaynor, who was the only member of the cast not on location at the islands. On their arrival at the wharf, the cast left in a large motor bus for Hollywood.”

July 31, 1926 [The Afro American]: “Hollywood, Calif. The path of the colored 'extra' in Hollywood comes far from being a path of roses, however, Eli Reynolds of Atlanta, Ga., who has been existing in the film game for the past five years, is so much in demand that now for certain types that he recently played four parts in one production. In The Devil's Master, a new Fox production featuring George O'Brien and Jennette [sic] Gaynor, and directed by John Ford, Eli Reynolds plays the part of a soldier, a sailor, an Island policeman and a pool hall roustabout. The production is a semi-war picture including dope smuggling into the United States. Most of the locale scenes were filmed around Santa Cruz Island in the Pacific off the coast of California.”