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HISTORY

The 28 Apr 1926 Var announced The Patent Leather Kid as one of First National Pictures’ upcoming “seven specials” to be released in the following year. Eight months later, the 18 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News reported that production would begin in Jan 1927 at the First National Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 5 Jan 1927 Var noted that Howard J. Green had been “signed to do the gags,” but the comedy writer was not credited in subsequent news items or reviews.
       Although the Nov 1926 Motion Picture Magazine announced that actress Dorothy Mackaill would play opposite lead actor Richard Barthelmess, she was replaced before production began, as reported in the 18 Feb 1927 Motion Picture News. According to items in the 12 Jan and 16 Feb 1927 Var, Dorothy Mackaill was contracted to First National and initially assigned the co-starring role. However, Richard Barthelmess “had another feminine lead in mind and insisted that his choice be used, even though she had no previous ‘Big League’ experience.” After being reassigned to star in See You In Jail (1927, see entry), Mackaill reportedly refused to participate in the alternate film, and was taken off the First National payroll.
       On 9 Feb 1927, Var indicated that Richard Barthelmess broke his foot while playing tennis, and was laid up in a cast. Production was expected to be delayed for three or four weeks.
       The 18 Feb 1927 Motion Picture News named newcomer Molly O’Day as Barthelmess’s co-star.
       With principal photography underway on location at Fort Lewis military base in Pierce County, WA, ... More Less

The 28 Apr 1926 Var announced The Patent Leather Kid as one of First National Pictures’ upcoming “seven specials” to be released in the following year. Eight months later, the 18 Dec 1926 Motion Picture News reported that production would begin in Jan 1927 at the First National Studios in Burbank, CA.
       The 5 Jan 1927 Var noted that Howard J. Green had been “signed to do the gags,” but the comedy writer was not credited in subsequent news items or reviews.
       Although the Nov 1926 Motion Picture Magazine announced that actress Dorothy Mackaill would play opposite lead actor Richard Barthelmess, she was replaced before production began, as reported in the 18 Feb 1927 Motion Picture News. According to items in the 12 Jan and 16 Feb 1927 Var, Dorothy Mackaill was contracted to First National and initially assigned the co-starring role. However, Richard Barthelmess “had another feminine lead in mind and insisted that his choice be used, even though she had no previous ‘Big League’ experience.” After being reassigned to star in See You In Jail (1927, see entry), Mackaill reportedly refused to participate in the alternate film, and was taken off the First National payroll.
       On 9 Feb 1927, Var indicated that Richard Barthelmess broke his foot while playing tennis, and was laid up in a cast. Production was expected to be delayed for three or four weeks.
       The 18 Feb 1927 Motion Picture News named newcomer Molly O’Day as Barthelmess’s co-star.
       With principal photography underway on location at Fort Lewis military base in Pierce County, WA, just outside of Tacoma, 3,000 U.S. soldiers were recruited as background actors in the battle sequences, as reported in the 16 Mar 1927 Var. Five hundred were cast as German soldiers, but the War Department declared they would “not allow American soldiers to impersonate Germans.”
       The 24 Apr 1927 FD indicated that production was still underway. On 7 Jun 1927, FD reported that Molly O’Day had “completed work” on the picture.
       The 24 Jun 1927 Motion Picture News noted that Al Rockett was the production manager at the start of the film, but his brother, Ray Rockett, took over the role toward the end of production.
       The world premiere was announced by the 8 Jun 1927 Var, to be held at New York City’s Globe Theatre on 15 Aug 1927 at $2 a ticket.
       The Sep 1927 Photoplay declared The Patent Leather Kid as one of the “Best Pictures of the Month,” and named Barthelmess amongst the “Best Performances of the Month.”
       Richard Barthelmess received an Academy Award nomination at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, which included films from 1927 and 1928. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
24 Apr 1927
p. 8.
Film Daily
7 Jun 1927
p. 11.
Film Daily
21 Aug 1927
p. 9.
Motion Picture Magazine
Nov 1926
p. 17.
Motion Picture News
18 Dec 1926
p. 2320.
Motion Picture News
18 Feb 1927
p. 572.
Motion Picture News
24 Jun 1927
p. 2445.
New York Times
16 Aug 1927
p. 31.
Photoplay
Sep 1927
p. 53.
Variety
26 Apr 1926
p. 60.
Variety
5 Jan 1927
p. 58.
Variety
12 Jan 1927
p. 4.
Variety
9 Feb 1927.
---
Variety
16 Feb 1927
p. 4.
Variety
16 May 1927
p. 1.
Variety
8 Jun 1927
p. 11.
Variety
17 Aug 1927.
---
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 September 1927
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 August 1927
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 December 1927
Copyright Number:
LP24816
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
11,955
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Patent Leather Kid, a boxer from New York's Lower East Side, has little affection for his country, now at war with Germany. His contempt deepens when his girl leaves him to entertain the troops in France. When the Kid and his trainer are drafted, the trainer is shot in military action. This loss spurs on the Kid to acts of heroism, but he is badly injured and becomes partially paralyzed. After the war, the Kid attends a military parade with his girl friend, who has become an Army nurse. Seeing the flag unfurl, the Kid slowly raises his previously paralyzed hand in ... +


The Patent Leather Kid, a boxer from New York's Lower East Side, has little affection for his country, now at war with Germany. His contempt deepens when his girl leaves him to entertain the troops in France. When the Kid and his trainer are drafted, the trainer is shot in military action. This loss spurs on the Kid to acts of heroism, but he is badly injured and becomes partially paralyzed. After the war, the Kid attends a military parade with his girl friend, who has become an Army nurse. Seeing the flag unfurl, the Kid slowly raises his previously paralyzed hand in salute. +

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.