Tell It to the Marines


1h 15m 1927
Tell It to the Marines

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, a tough drill sergeant and a spoiled recruit become romantic rivals.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
War
Silent
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 29, 1927
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1926
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
8,800ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

Skeet Burns goes to San Diego on the pretext of joining the Marines, then skips to Tia Juana on arrival. Later, he returns, penniless and hungry, and under Sergeant O'Hara's care he joins the Leathernecks. Skeet becomes enamored of Norma Dale, a commissioned Navy nurse, but on tour duty in the Philippines he is taken with Zaya, a native girl, and incurs the wrath of her friends. Hearing of the affair, Norma breaks off with Skeet, and the latter blames his misfortune on O'Hara. Norma is ordered to Hangchow, and when news arrives that her party is endangered by Chinese bandits, the Marines rescue the beleaguered whites; O'Hara is wounded in the fighting but is happy because he has at last made a man of Skeet. After his hitch, Skeet leaves the service and his friend O'Hara behind, promising Norma that he will wait for her.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
War
Silent
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 29, 1927
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Dec 1926
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Silent
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
8,800ft (9 reels)

Articles

Tell it to the Marines - Tell It to the Marines


In case you thought Lon Chaney was only capable of playing monstrous and unsavory characters, Tell It to the Marines (1926) is a perfect example of what the actor could do with a "straight" role. As Sergeant O'Hara, a gruff Marine who trains new recruits to become fearless officers, Chaney did not wear any makeup, relying solely on his dramatic skills to create one of his most compelling characters. Photoplay, in their review of the film, noted that "Lon Chaney, sans grotesque make-up for a change, proves himself an excellent actor by his playing of O'Hara. Indeed, his O'Hara has all the authentic earmarks of a real, honest-to-Tunney Marine." Perhaps even more complimentary than the positive critical reviews was the response from the United States Marine Corps' own magazine, Leatherneck: "Few of us who observed Chaney's portrayal of his role were not carried away to the memory of some sergeant we had known whose behavior matched that of the actor in every minute detail...."

Tell It to the Marines could be seen as the prototype for such military training films as Sands of Iwo Jima and The D.I. and Chaney's performance as the quintessential drill sergeant which other actors from John Wayne to Louis Gossett, Jr. would emulate. The film also helped advance the career of William Haines who co-stars as "Skeet" Burns, the irresponsible youth who learns his own self-worth through the lessons of a boot camp lifer. The narrative focuses on his rite of passage at the Marine base to the Orient where he is sent to rescue a group of Americans held hostage by Chinese bandits.

MGM brought in General Smedley D. Butler, commander of the Marine base in San Diego, for technical consultation on the film. The studio was also allowed to shoot on the base which made Tell It to the Marines the first motion picture made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Marine Corps. The battleship USS California (It was later destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) was used for the scenes at sea and the final sequence of the film, where the marines rescue the hostages, was filmed at Iverson's Ranch in Chatsworth, California, the location for such films as Fort Apache and The Good Earth.

Director: George Hill
Producer: Irving G. Thalberg
Screenplay: E. Richard Schayer
Cinematography: Ira Morgan
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Arnold Gillespie
Cast: Lon Chaney (Sgt. O'Hara), William Haines (Pvt. "Skeet" Burns), Eleanor Boardman (Norma Dale), Eddie Gribbon (Cpl. Madden), Warner Oland (Chinese bandit leader).
BW-104m.

by Jeff Stafford
Tell It To The Marines - Tell It To The Marines

Tell it to the Marines - Tell It to the Marines

In case you thought Lon Chaney was only capable of playing monstrous and unsavory characters, Tell It to the Marines (1926) is a perfect example of what the actor could do with a "straight" role. As Sergeant O'Hara, a gruff Marine who trains new recruits to become fearless officers, Chaney did not wear any makeup, relying solely on his dramatic skills to create one of his most compelling characters. Photoplay, in their review of the film, noted that "Lon Chaney, sans grotesque make-up for a change, proves himself an excellent actor by his playing of O'Hara. Indeed, his O'Hara has all the authentic earmarks of a real, honest-to-Tunney Marine." Perhaps even more complimentary than the positive critical reviews was the response from the United States Marine Corps' own magazine, Leatherneck: "Few of us who observed Chaney's portrayal of his role were not carried away to the memory of some sergeant we had known whose behavior matched that of the actor in every minute detail...." Tell It to the Marines could be seen as the prototype for such military training films as Sands of Iwo Jima and The D.I. and Chaney's performance as the quintessential drill sergeant which other actors from John Wayne to Louis Gossett, Jr. would emulate. The film also helped advance the career of William Haines who co-stars as "Skeet" Burns, the irresponsible youth who learns his own self-worth through the lessons of a boot camp lifer. The narrative focuses on his rite of passage at the Marine base to the Orient where he is sent to rescue a group of Americans held hostage by Chinese bandits. MGM brought in General Smedley D. Butler, commander of the Marine base in San Diego, for technical consultation on the film. The studio was also allowed to shoot on the base which made Tell It to the Marines the first motion picture made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Marine Corps. The battleship USS California (It was later destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) was used for the scenes at sea and the final sequence of the film, where the marines rescue the hostages, was filmed at Iverson's Ranch in Chatsworth, California, the location for such films as Fort Apache and The Good Earth. Director: George Hill Producer: Irving G. Thalberg Screenplay: E. Richard Schayer Cinematography: Ira Morgan Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Arnold Gillespie Cast: Lon Chaney (Sgt. O'Hara), William Haines (Pvt. "Skeet" Burns), Eleanor Boardman (Norma Dale), Eddie Gribbon (Cpl. Madden), Warner Oland (Chinese bandit leader). BW-104m. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

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Notes

Copyrighted as 10 reels.