Brother Rat (1938)

90 mins | Comedy | 29 October 1938

Director:

William Keighley

Cinematographer:

Ernest Haller

Editor:

William Holmes

Production Designer:

Max Parker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Playwrights John Monks, Jr. and Fred Finklehoffe were former students at the Virginia Military Institute. The play had its premiere at the State Theater in Lexington, VA, home of VMI, and was a box office success. George Abbott presented the play on Broadway with Warner Bros.' backing.
       Monks and Finklehoffe went on to long careers as screenwriters. In 1942, Monks co-wrote the acclaimed World War II documentary We Are the Marines (see below). Eddie Albert (1906--2005), who made his film debut in Brother Rat , was the only holdover from the Broadway production to act in the movie, but William Tracey previously had played "Misto Bottome" in the West Coast stage production. Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman were married between 1940 and 1948. In 1940, Warner Bros. made a sequel to the film, Brother Rat and a Baby (see below), which retained most of the original film's cast members. The studio also produced a 1952 musical remake, About Face , which starred Gordon MacRae, Eddie Bracken, Dick Wesson, Phyllis Kirk and Joel ... More Less

Playwrights John Monks, Jr. and Fred Finklehoffe were former students at the Virginia Military Institute. The play had its premiere at the State Theater in Lexington, VA, home of VMI, and was a box office success. George Abbott presented the play on Broadway with Warner Bros.' backing.
       Monks and Finklehoffe went on to long careers as screenwriters. In 1942, Monks co-wrote the acclaimed World War II documentary We Are the Marines (see below). Eddie Albert (1906--2005), who made his film debut in Brother Rat , was the only holdover from the Broadway production to act in the movie, but William Tracey previously had played "Misto Bottome" in the West Coast stage production. Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman were married between 1940 and 1948. In 1940, Warner Bros. made a sequel to the film, Brother Rat and a Baby (see below), which retained most of the original film's cast members. The studio also produced a 1952 musical remake, About Face , which starred Gordon MacRae, Eddie Bracken, Dick Wesson, Phyllis Kirk and Joel Grey. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
17 Oct 38
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 38
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 38
pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
14 Oct 38
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Aug 38
p. 65.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Oct 38
p. 36.
New York Times
5 Nov 38
p. 15.
Variety
19 Oct 38
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Brother Rat by John Monks, Jr. and Fred F. Finklehoffe, produced by George Abbott (New York, 16 Dec 1936).
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 October 1938
Production Date:
early July--early August 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 September 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8456
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4403
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Billy Randolph, Dan Crawford, and Bing Edwards are roommates at the Virginia Military Institute, known as the West Point of the South. Billy is in love with Joyce Winfree, who has brought her college friend, Claire Adams, along for the big baseball weekend before graduation. Bing arrives at Joyce's house in anxious anticipation of meeting Kate Rice. Kate, to whom Bing is secretly married, shocks him with the news that she is pregnant and is leaving town to have the baby. Bing is so preoccupied by the news that he wanders off the field during garrison review to coo at a baby on the sidelines. Joyce and Billy set Dan up with Claire, a plain, studious woman, who, unknown to the men, is the daughter of the Commandant, Colonel Ramm. Arriving to pick up his daughter, Ramm catches Billy out after hours and Billy has to admit that Dan was with him. The two men are confined to quarters, which means that Dan, one of the team's star players, is out of the game. The other star player, Bing, is too upset over Kate to be any good. His friends try to raise funds for Bing's baby by pawning a saber for money to bet on the game. Unfortunately, Ramm thinks that Bing did it himself, and he is confined to quarters as well. This gives Bing a chance to cram for his science exams, aided by Claire. Dan discovers that Claire is beautiful without her glasses and Bing passes his exam, but fails to win the athletic association award. When he gets a telegram announcing the birth of ... +


Billy Randolph, Dan Crawford, and Bing Edwards are roommates at the Virginia Military Institute, known as the West Point of the South. Billy is in love with Joyce Winfree, who has brought her college friend, Claire Adams, along for the big baseball weekend before graduation. Bing arrives at Joyce's house in anxious anticipation of meeting Kate Rice. Kate, to whom Bing is secretly married, shocks him with the news that she is pregnant and is leaving town to have the baby. Bing is so preoccupied by the news that he wanders off the field during garrison review to coo at a baby on the sidelines. Joyce and Billy set Dan up with Claire, a plain, studious woman, who, unknown to the men, is the daughter of the Commandant, Colonel Ramm. Arriving to pick up his daughter, Ramm catches Billy out after hours and Billy has to admit that Dan was with him. The two men are confined to quarters, which means that Dan, one of the team's star players, is out of the game. The other star player, Bing, is too upset over Kate to be any good. His friends try to raise funds for Bing's baby by pawning a saber for money to bet on the game. Unfortunately, Ramm thinks that Bing did it himself, and he is confined to quarters as well. This gives Bing a chance to cram for his science exams, aided by Claire. Dan discovers that Claire is beautiful without her glasses and Bing passes his exam, but fails to win the athletic association award. When he gets a telegram announcing the birth of a boy, the men remember that there is a reward for the first baby born to one of their class members. His money worries over, Bing proudly hands the Commandant a cigar at commencement. +

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.