They Gave Him a Gun (1937)

90, 93 or 97 mins | Drama | 7 May 1937

Director:

W. S. Van Dyke

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to pre-production news items, this film was originally to have starred James Stewart, and William Joyce Cowen, author of the novel on which the film is based, was to have collaborated on the script with Richard Maibaum and Maurice Rapf. No other source credits Cowen with any contribution other than original source. Portions of the film were shot on location in La Jolla, ... More Less

According to pre-production news items, this film was originally to have starred James Stewart, and William Joyce Cowen, author of the novel on which the film is based, was to have collaborated on the script with Richard Maibaum and Maurice Rapf. No other source credits Cowen with any contribution other than original source. Portions of the film were shot on location in La Jolla, CA. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 May 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 May 37
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 37
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Apr 37
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
15 May 37
p. 50.
New York Times
14 May 37
p. 21.
Variety
19 May 37
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont effs
PRODUCTION MISC
Arr of military props
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel They Gave Him a Gun by William Joyce Cowen (New York, 1936).
SONGS
"A Love Song of Long Ago," music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Gus Kahn.
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 May 1937
Production Date:
mid February--5 April 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
12 May 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7165
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90, 93 or 97
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3262
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Fred P. Willis, a carnival barker, meets Jimmy Davis, an insecure accountant, just as the two enter the army at the beginning of World War I. Jimmy has difficulty with army life, especially using a weapon. He wants to desert so that he won't have to kill anyone, but Fred slugs him, then later convinces him to stay on. Soon Jimmy becomes the best shot in his outfit and yearns for "moving targets." When the unit goes to France, Jimmy becomes a hero when he is wounded after shooting several German soldiers, and no one knows that he shot one of them after the soldier raised his hands in surrender. In the hospital, while recuperating from his wounds, Jimmy falls in love with nurse Rose Duffy, who is fond of him, but is really in love with Fred. Fred returns her love, not realizing that Jimmy is completely dependent upon Rose. When Fred is reported killed in action, Rose accepts Jimmy's proposal, not revealing that she loved Fred. Fred soon returns, however, having only been missing in action, but when Jimmy says that he would die without Rose, Fred decides to give her up. When Rose visits him, he pretends that he is already married and sends her away. Some years later, Fred runs into Jimmy on a street in New York, just after a gang shooting has occurred. Fred is suspicious that Jimmy is a hired killer when their old platoon leader, Sergeant Meadowlark, now a policeman, also runs into him and tells him that the killer was an excellent shot. Fred goes to see Jimmy and Rose and ... +


Fred P. Willis, a carnival barker, meets Jimmy Davis, an insecure accountant, just as the two enter the army at the beginning of World War I. Jimmy has difficulty with army life, especially using a weapon. He wants to desert so that he won't have to kill anyone, but Fred slugs him, then later convinces him to stay on. Soon Jimmy becomes the best shot in his outfit and yearns for "moving targets." When the unit goes to France, Jimmy becomes a hero when he is wounded after shooting several German soldiers, and no one knows that he shot one of them after the soldier raised his hands in surrender. In the hospital, while recuperating from his wounds, Jimmy falls in love with nurse Rose Duffy, who is fond of him, but is really in love with Fred. Fred returns her love, not realizing that Jimmy is completely dependent upon Rose. When Fred is reported killed in action, Rose accepts Jimmy's proposal, not revealing that she loved Fred. Fred soon returns, however, having only been missing in action, but when Jimmy says that he would die without Rose, Fred decides to give her up. When Rose visits him, he pretends that he is already married and sends her away. Some years later, Fred runs into Jimmy on a street in New York, just after a gang shooting has occurred. Fred is suspicious that Jimmy is a hired killer when their old platoon leader, Sergeant Meadowlark, now a policeman, also runs into him and tells him that the killer was an excellent shot. Fred goes to see Jimmy and Rose and realizes that their prosperity comes from murder. He tries to convince Jimmy to stop, but Jimmy says he finds killing gangsters easy after the government ordered him to kill decent soldiers. Rose goes to see Fred after learning that he was never married and Fred tells her that Jimmy is a hired killer. Later, after overhearing him plan a job, Rose anonymously reports Jimmy to the police. Although angry at first, Jimmy confesses to attempted murder in court, making Rose proud of him. She says that she will wait for him and he goes to jail. Fred and his friends at the carnival help Rose get away from Jimmy's gangster pals and she becomes one of the carnival workers. While Jimmy is in prison, he becomes embittered after listening to a fellow inmate accuse Rose and Fred of infidelity and the two men escape. He goes to the carnival and realizes that Rose has been faithful, but when he also realizes that they have secretly loved each other since France, he rushes towards the police who are trying to apprehend him and is killed when he fails to raise his hands in surrender. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Crime, World War I


Subject

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

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