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Professional Soldier

Professional Soldier(1936)

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The opening credits introduce the film as "Damon Runyon's Professional Soldier." The film was prepared for production by 20th Century Pictures and was released after the company merged with Fox Film Corp. A November 9, 1933 Daily Variety news item indicates that when Twentieth Century was handling the property, Gregory La Cava considered directing it. Early versions of the script, contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, suggest that the character of "George Foster" be played by Franchot Tone, and that of "Picklepuss," which became "Mischa," be played by Mischa Auer. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Wallace Beery was originally set for the role of "Michael Donovan," but was instead placed by Twentieth Century-Fox in A Message for Garcia. Hollywood Reporter news items also noted that John Ford was scheduled to direct the film, that actor Freddie Bartholomew was borrowed from M-G-M, and that Rian James was signed to work on the script. James's contribution to the completed film, however, has not been confirmed. A studio publicity release stated that Sydney Jordan, "Hollywood's most famous sharpshooter," was hired "to perform the dangerous shots." Hollywood Reporter production charts include Douglas Wood and Jack Byron in the cast, but their contribution to the final picture has not been confirmed. A October 30, 1935 Hollywood Reporter news item incorrectly stated that Kenneth Macgowan was taking over associate producer chores from Raymond Griffith, but the reporting error was corrected the next day. New York Times noted that the picture cost in excess of $750,000 to produce. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the song "Joan of Arkansas" was written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman for George White's 1935 Scandals, but was not used in that film. Michael Whalen made his screen acting debut in this picture.