The Service Star

The Service Star (aka The Flag of Mothers) is an American silent film directed by Charles Miller. The film stars Madge Kennedy as a young woman who pretends to be the fiancée of a famous flying ace during the World War I.[1] The film was copyrighted under the title The Flag of Mothers and was released in July 1918, four months before the end of the conflict.[2]

The Service Star
Directed byCharles Miller
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
Written byCharles Logue (credited as Charles A. Logue) (scenario)
StarringMadge Kennedy

Clarence Oliver

Maude Turner Gordon
CinematographyLouis Dunmyre
Ned Van Buren
Distributed byGoldwyn Pictures
Release date
  • July 7, 1918 (1918-07-07)
Running time
60 minutes; 6 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Marilyn March (Madge Kennedy), a plain young girl from the country, lonely and unhappy because she alone of all the girls in her town does not have a soldier sweetheart, When she moves to Washington at the outbreak of World War I, she begins to pretend to be the fiancée of John Whitney Marshall (Clarence Oliver), a famous combat aviator, and places a service star in her window.

When Mrs. Marshall (Maude Turner Gordon) the flyer's mother, learns of the "engagement," she accepts the girl as her future daughter-in-law, just in time for complications to arise in the form of the truth. John is also harboring a secret; he is a chemist and is still in the United States working on a deadly gas for the government. The combat flyer who is in France is an imposter he sent. Marilyn is torn over her affection for John and revealing that he is a fraud. Events transpire that turn John into a legitimate hero that Marilyn can accept as her true love.



According to publicity for The Service Star, some scenes were shot in Washington, D.C., as well as in various towns in northern New Jersey, and on Long Island, New York. While on location in Long Island, a parade of American Civil War veterans who gave a tribute to drafted boys leaving for boot camp was incorporated into the film. [3].


Like many American films of the time, The Service Star was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, in Reel 5, the Chicago Board of Censors cut the shooting of the chemist.[4]

The Service Star is a lost film. During its original release, it was paired with a short Harold Lloyd comedy in some theaters.[5]



  1. Edwards 2016, p. 177.
  2. "The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20." The American Film Institute, c.1988.
  3. "Review: 'The Service Star'." AFI Catalog of Feature Films (American Film Institute), 2016. Retrieved: June 30, 2017.
  4. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors." Exhibitors Herald (Exhibitors Herald Company, New York City), Volume 7, Issue 5, July 27, 1918, p. 43.
  5. The Fredericksburg Daily Star, Fredericksburg, Virginia, September 11, 1918. Retrieved: August 14, 2012.


  • Edwards, Paul M. World War I on Film: English Language Releases through 2014. Jefferson, North Carolina: 2016. ISBN 0-78649-866-8.
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