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Ten Gentlemen from West Point

Ten Gentlemen from West Point(1942)


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The working titles of this film were Salute to Heroes and School for Soldiers. As depicted in the film, an important military base was constructed at West Point, NY during the Revolutionary War, and on July 4, 1802, an act of Congress formally opened the United States Military Academy at the site. Although the academy initially specialized in training military engineers, its four-year program grew to include various specialties of military science, humanities and social sciences. Many noted military leaders have graduated from the school, which first admitted women cadets in 1976.
       The following information comes from Hollywood Reporter news items and studio press releases: Lou Edelman was originally assigned to produce the picture, but was replaced by William Perlberg after the expiration of his contract with the studio and his departure for Columbia. Although Hollywood Reporter news items stated that Tom Reed and Dale Van Every had joined the studio writing staff to work on the film's screenplay, the extent of their contribution to the completed picture has not determined.
       On July 22, 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced that Randolph Scott had replaced Tyrone Power in the "top male role" in the film, and an August 1941 studio press release added that Scott would be portraying "Major Sam Carter." In August 1941, Henry Fonda and John Payne were set as Scott's co-stars, and in November 1941, Victor Mature was scheduled to play one of the leading roles. In mid-December 1941, however, Mature was instead cast in My Gal Sal. John Sutton replaced John Payne in mid-January 1941 when illness and retakes for To the Shores of Tripoli prevented Payne from reporting to the set of Ten Gentlemen from West Point. Sara Allgood was replaced by Esther Dale after being "held by another role." O. Z. Whitehead was cast in the picture, but withdrew in order to enlist in the Army. Although the studio had sought Barton MacLane for a top role, he does not appear in the completed picture. William Tracy and Jill Esmond are included in the cast by some contemporary sources, but their appearances in the released film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter production charts list Chester Gore as the film's art director for the first month of production, although Richard Day and Nathan Juran are listed as the art directors in the onscreen credits. A February 13, 1942 Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Robert Bischoff as the film editor, although only James B. Clark is listed in the onscreen credits. The extent of Bischoff's contribution to the picture, if any, has not been determined.
       The studio had originally intended to shoot the West Point sequences on location in Monterey, but instead constructed a replica of the academy in Sherwood Forest, CA, due to military activity at Monterey. The set, which cost approximately $35,000, was left standing for use in Twentieth Century-Fox's The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942). According to a May 25, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was to have a preview at West Point the following day. The film received favorable notices, and several reviews praised the brief epilogue, during which portraits of West Point alumni such as Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Armstrong Custer, John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur are displayed. The production, which marked the screen debut of actor and future director Blake Edwards, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography (b&w).