The Duke of West Point (1938)

105 mins | Drama | 29 December 1938

Director:

Alfred E. Green

Writer:

George Bruce

Cinematographer:

Robert Planck

Editor:

Grant Whytock

Production Designer:

John Ducasse Schulze

Production Company:

Edward Small Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

MPH credits J. V. Schwartz with the film's sound, although Earl C. Sitar is given credit on the film. According to items in the AMPAS Library file on the film, the film went into general release on the East Coast on 29 Dec 1938 but did not open in Los Angeles until Jan 1939. A feature article in IP in Nov 1938 named football star "Dutch" Wilcox as the person who actually threw the spectacular pass during one of the film's football sequences which, according to HR , was made especially for the film. The film's pressbook noted that the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. was substituted for West Point's Michie Stadium, although according to news items in HR , background shots and some exteriors of West Point were made on a three-week location unit shoot in Jun and Jul 1938. According to MPH , this was the first Edward Small production for United Artists after the initiation of a new agreement between them. Small released through United Artists several years previously but had subsequently gone to other companies. News items in HR noted that Jack Dunn, an English ice skater who had headed the 1936 British Olympic team at the age of twenty-one, was scheduled to co-star in the film with Rochelle Hudson. After being hospitalized in early Jul 1938 for a streptococci eye infection, Dunn died ten days later of Tularemia, a rare blood disease which comes from the handling of rabbits, without having begun this picture. Dunn's death caused the start of the film's production to be delayed for several weeks, at ... More Less

MPH credits J. V. Schwartz with the film's sound, although Earl C. Sitar is given credit on the film. According to items in the AMPAS Library file on the film, the film went into general release on the East Coast on 29 Dec 1938 but did not open in Los Angeles until Jan 1939. A feature article in IP in Nov 1938 named football star "Dutch" Wilcox as the person who actually threw the spectacular pass during one of the film's football sequences which, according to HR , was made especially for the film. The film's pressbook noted that the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. was substituted for West Point's Michie Stadium, although according to news items in HR , background shots and some exteriors of West Point were made on a three-week location unit shoot in Jun and Jul 1938. According to MPH , this was the first Edward Small production for United Artists after the initiation of a new agreement between them. Small released through United Artists several years previously but had subsequently gone to other companies. News items in HR noted that Jack Dunn, an English ice skater who had headed the 1936 British Olympic team at the age of twenty-one, was scheduled to co-star in the film with Rochelle Hudson. After being hospitalized in early Jul 1938 for a streptococci eye infection, Dunn died ten days later of Tularemia, a rare blood disease which comes from the handling of rabbits, without having begun this picture. Dunn's death caused the start of the film's production to be delayed for several weeks, at which time Louis Hayward took over Dunn's role and Joan Fontaine took over Hudson's. According to a HR news item, actor Richard Carlson was borrowed from Selznick-International for his role in the picture. According to an ad in FD on 2 Jun 1938, M-G-M was planning to make a film about the ice hockey rivalry between the American and Canadian military academies starring Robert Taylor. The film, which was to be titled Hands Across the Border , was never made. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Dec 1938.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Jun 38
p. 13.
Film Daily
16 Dec 38
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 38
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 38
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 38
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Nov 38
pp. 14-15.
Motion Picture Daily
16 Dec 38
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Nov 38
p. 47.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Dec 38
p. 52.
New York Times
16 Dec 38
p. 33.
Variety
21 Dec 38
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Loc mgr
Head of loc unit
Tech adv for hockey
Tech adv for rugby
Tech adv for boxing
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 December 1938
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 15 December 1938
Production Date:
22 September--early November 1938 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Edward Small Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 January 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8583
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in feet):
9,821
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4858
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Young Steven Early, the son of the American military attache to London, enters West Point after a spectacular career at school in England. Because of his bemused, aristocratic manner, his fellow plebes call him "the Duke." Steve rooms with Robert "Sonny" Drew and John "Jack" West, both of whom are enthusiastic about being at the Academy. From the first day, Steve antagonizes upper classman Cadet Strong and the two become further estranged when Steve falls for Strong's girl, Ann Porter, the daughter of athletic trainer Doc Porter. When Jack receives word that his widowed mother is in desperate trouble and he may have to leave the Academy, Steve sneaks out and secretly wires her money, asking her never to reveal the source. Because he is caught and refuses to reveal the reason for his absence, his fellow classmen "silence" him. Although Ann initially chastizes Steve for his attitude, soon her feelings for him grow. For the next two years, none of his classmates, except Sonny and Jack, will speak to him, despite the fact that he has become the top in his class academically and a star athlete. During a practice session for a big ice hockey game with the Canadian cadet team, Sonny's neck is broken in his first chance off the bench. With this final blow, Steve decides that he will try hard to win the game for Sonny, but after that he will resign. The team wins and Sonny, though he possibly will be bedridden for the rest of his life, is elated that Steve has worn his jersey skating to victory. Just after the win, Jack receives word ... +


Young Steven Early, the son of the American military attache to London, enters West Point after a spectacular career at school in England. Because of his bemused, aristocratic manner, his fellow plebes call him "the Duke." Steve rooms with Robert "Sonny" Drew and John "Jack" West, both of whom are enthusiastic about being at the Academy. From the first day, Steve antagonizes upper classman Cadet Strong and the two become further estranged when Steve falls for Strong's girl, Ann Porter, the daughter of athletic trainer Doc Porter. When Jack receives word that his widowed mother is in desperate trouble and he may have to leave the Academy, Steve sneaks out and secretly wires her money, asking her never to reveal the source. Because he is caught and refuses to reveal the reason for his absence, his fellow classmen "silence" him. Although Ann initially chastizes Steve for his attitude, soon her feelings for him grow. For the next two years, none of his classmates, except Sonny and Jack, will speak to him, despite the fact that he has become the top in his class academically and a star athlete. During a practice session for a big ice hockey game with the Canadian cadet team, Sonny's neck is broken in his first chance off the bench. With this final blow, Steve decides that he will try hard to win the game for Sonny, but after that he will resign. The team wins and Sonny, though he possibly will be bedridden for the rest of his life, is elated that Steve has worn his jersey skating to victory. Just after the win, Jack receives word from his mother that Steve was the person who had helped her through her financial crisis. When he realizes that Steve had left barracks only to help him, he tells Strong, who then arranges for the entire school to "welcome" him as an upper classman. Happy at last with life at West Point, Steve shows Ann a newspaper item that announces their engagement. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.