Parachute Battalion (1941)

75 mins | Drama | 12 September 1941

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HISTORY

Although onscreen credits list actor Richard Fielding as "the Chief of Infantry," the CBCS and Var review credit Edward Fielding with that role. This film was copyrighted twice. The first entry, LP10646, was abandoned after RKO submitted a second, corrected entry, LP10700. The opening credits acknowledge that the parachute jumps in the film were performed by the members of the 501st Parachute Battalion at Fort Benning, GA. The HR review adds that location shots were filmed at Fort Benning. According to a pre-production news item in HR , Lucille Ball was slated for the female lead. Another pre-production news item notes that although the studio originally conceived the picture as a low budget production, the completed script convinced RKO to boost it into the "A" class.
       Early production charts in HR credit George Hively as editor and add Patric Knowles and Charles Quigley to the cast, but Knowles did not appear in the film and the participation of Hively and Quigley in the final picture has not been confirmed. Other news items in HR note that because RKO was suffering from a shortage of leading man, the studio borrowed Robert Preston from Twentieth Century-Fox and Paul Kelly from M-G-M. The studio also negotiated with Charles Bickford for a top role, but he did not work on the film. The film's premiere in Atlanta, GA was attended by members of the 501st Battalion who worked on the production, and the song "Parachute Battalion" performed in the film was an adaptation of the official song of the army's parachute troops, according to news items in ... More Less

Although onscreen credits list actor Richard Fielding as "the Chief of Infantry," the CBCS and Var review credit Edward Fielding with that role. This film was copyrighted twice. The first entry, LP10646, was abandoned after RKO submitted a second, corrected entry, LP10700. The opening credits acknowledge that the parachute jumps in the film were performed by the members of the 501st Parachute Battalion at Fort Benning, GA. The HR review adds that location shots were filmed at Fort Benning. According to a pre-production news item in HR , Lucille Ball was slated for the female lead. Another pre-production news item notes that although the studio originally conceived the picture as a low budget production, the completed script convinced RKO to boost it into the "A" class.
       Early production charts in HR credit George Hively as editor and add Patric Knowles and Charles Quigley to the cast, but Knowles did not appear in the film and the participation of Hively and Quigley in the final picture has not been confirmed. Other news items in HR note that because RKO was suffering from a shortage of leading man, the studio borrowed Robert Preston from Twentieth Century-Fox and Paul Kelly from M-G-M. The studio also negotiated with Charles Bickford for a top role, but he did not work on the film. The film's premiere in Atlanta, GA was attended by members of the 501st Battalion who worked on the production, and the song "Parachute Battalion" performed in the film was an adaptation of the official song of the army's parachute troops, according to news items in HR . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Jul 1941.
---
Daily Variety
15 Jul 1941.
---
Film Daily
15 Jul 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 41
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 41
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 41
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Jul 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Jul 41
p. 196.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Sep 41
p. 249.
New York Times
29 Aug 41
p. 13.
Variety
16 Jul 41
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
SONGS
"Parachute Battalion," words and music by Roy Webb and Herman Ruby.
COMPOSERS
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 September 1941
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Atlanta, GA: 14 August 1941
Production Date:
late March--early May 1941
Copyright Claimants:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Dates:
1 August 1941 14 August 1941
Copyright Numbers:
LP10646 LP10700
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in feet):
6,788
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7241
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On their way to join the Parachute Service at Fort Benning, Georgia, William Mayberry "Bill" Burke, an insecure young man; Donald Morse, a conceited college football star; and Jeff Hollis, an affable hillbilly, meet on the train. En route, the three also meet Master Sergeant Bill Richards and his daughter Kit. Because Richards is wearing civilian clothes, Don mistakes the caterpillar pin awarded to Richards for bravery for a lodge pin and asks Kit for a date, a breach of army protocol. At Fort Benning, Richards visits his old friend, Colonel Burke, the fort commander, and tells him that his son Bill is a new recruit in the battalion. The colonel, who has not seen Bill since divorcing his mother years earlier, asks to see his son, but Richards advises him to let the boy prove himself first. The next day, the new recruits are introduced to their battalion instructor, Richards, who takes a dislike to the self-assured Don. Don plans to ask Kit for a date that afternoon, but when their sergeant, Tex, asks Bill to do him a favor and accompany a friend to the dance, the friend turns out to be Kit, and Don is left dateless. When Bill brings Kit home that night, he confides his fear of skydiving to her. On the day of their first jump, fear pervades the air as first Don and then Jeff jump. Before his turn, Spence, a member of the squad, panics and pulls a gun on Richards but Bill convinces him to hand over the gun. At mess that night, Richards, convinced of Bill's courage, announces that he is the ... +


On their way to join the Parachute Service at Fort Benning, Georgia, William Mayberry "Bill" Burke, an insecure young man; Donald Morse, a conceited college football star; and Jeff Hollis, an affable hillbilly, meet on the train. En route, the three also meet Master Sergeant Bill Richards and his daughter Kit. Because Richards is wearing civilian clothes, Don mistakes the caterpillar pin awarded to Richards for bravery for a lodge pin and asks Kit for a date, a breach of army protocol. At Fort Benning, Richards visits his old friend, Colonel Burke, the fort commander, and tells him that his son Bill is a new recruit in the battalion. The colonel, who has not seen Bill since divorcing his mother years earlier, asks to see his son, but Richards advises him to let the boy prove himself first. The next day, the new recruits are introduced to their battalion instructor, Richards, who takes a dislike to the self-assured Don. Don plans to ask Kit for a date that afternoon, but when their sergeant, Tex, asks Bill to do him a favor and accompany a friend to the dance, the friend turns out to be Kit, and Don is left dateless. When Bill brings Kit home that night, he confides his fear of skydiving to her. On the day of their first jump, fear pervades the air as first Don and then Jeff jump. Before his turn, Spence, a member of the squad, panics and pulls a gun on Richards but Bill convinces him to hand over the gun. At mess that night, Richards, convinced of Bill's courage, announces that he is the commandant's son, and Bill asks to speak with his father. In commandant Richard's office, Bill confesses his fear and asks for a transfer. Richards, whose full name is William Mayberry Richards, is bitterly disappointed in the boy, and calls him "Mayberry," explaining that Bill was named after him and now he is ashamed to share the name with him. On the day before Bill's transfer, Richards asks him to help drop-test a dummy, and as Bill nears the plane door, Richards pushes him out. They both land in the river and Bill saves Richards' life by pulling him out of the water. His confidence restored, Bill cancels his transfer, and his battalion is assigned to participate in upcoming war maneuvers. Soon after, Don is notified that he is to be promoted to 2nd lieutenant because of his R.O.T.C. experience and announces that he intends to propose to Kit. Don's announcement forces Bill to realize that he loves Kit, too, and as they two men argue, Bill angrily mispacks his parachute. That night, Bill professes his love to Kit, and the next day, Bill and Don are assigned to blow up the powder magazine during maneuvers. When Bill and Don miss their flight because they are fighting over Kit, they are forced to take off in a plane that has no parachute rigging. As Don prepares to jump, his rigging gets caught on the plane's tail wing, and Bill climbs out on the tail and cuts him free. Sharing one shoot between them, they jump to the ground and explode the powder magazine. Their mission completed, the Parachute Battalion receives their medallions, and Kit and Bill make wedding plans as Don begins his pursuit of another girl. +

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.