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Tell It to the Marines (1926)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  29 January 1927 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 1,108 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 5 critic

U.S. Marine Sergeant O'Hara has his hands full training raw recruits, one of whom, 'Skeets' Burns, is a particular thorn in his side. If Burns's lackadaisical approach to the military were ... See full summary »


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Title: Tell It to the Marines (1926)

Tell It to the Marines (1926) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Complete credited cast:
Sergeant O'Hara
Private 'Skeet' Burns
Eleanor Boardman ...
Norma Dale
Eddie Gribbon ...
Corporal Madden
Carmel Myers ...
Chinese Bandit Chief
Mitchell Lewis ...
Frank Currier ...
General Wilcox
Maurice E. Kains ...
Harry (as Maurice Kains)


U.S. Marine Sergeant O'Hara has his hands full training raw recruits, one of whom, 'Skeets' Burns, is a particular thorn in his side. If Burns's lackadaisical approach to the military were not bad enough, he also makes advances on nurse Nora Dale, whom Sergeant O'Hara secretly loves. Nora is oblivious to O'Hara's feelings and is attracted to the handsome 'Skeet.' But an indiscretion turns her against him, and it takes an expedition to China and a battle with a warlord's bandit brigade to sort things out among the nurse and her two Marines. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 January 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tell It to the Marines  »

Box Office


$433,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2000 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Not only did Lon Chaney forgo his customary grotesque makeup for this picture; he refused to wear any film makeup at all, because - he reportedly reasoned - to have done so would have detracted from the documentary reality and integrity of the picture. See more »


Burnes doesn't have his seabag when he is on his way to the ship. He is going to need at least a change of skivvies. See more »


Marine Major: Burns, are you an American citizen?
Pvt. George Robert 'Skeet' Burns: Sure! Do I look like a Persian?
Marine Major: Ever been married?
Pvt. George Robert 'Skeet' Burns: Not me! I'm America's sweetheart!
Marine Major: Ever been in jail?
Pvt. George Robert 'Skeet' Burns: Well, Maje old kid... now I'm a Marine.
Marine Major: You're damned right you are! Stand up!
Sgt. O'Hara: Terrible!
Sgt. O'Hara: Madden, put a uniform on this! Try to make it look human!
Sgt. O'Hara: Don't shoot him before we find out where his parents live.
See more »

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User Reviews

Semper Fi, Bill and Lon
1 April 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In the only film that Lon Chaney ever made without makeup of any sort, he and William Haines laid the ground work for many a service comedy in the sound era. Had this been done at Warner Brothers a few years later, the parts that Chaney and Haines have would have been played by Pat O'Brien and James Cagney.

Tell It To The Marines finds William Haines as a fresh young recruit enlisting in the Marines on almost a whim in San Diego. Once they've got his signature on the dotted line, Haines comes under the tender charge of sergeant Lon Chaney. The two go through training, sea duty, and rescuing some missionaries while posted in Shanghai.

They've also interest in the same girl, Navy nurse Eleanor Boardman and if you've seen any of the Cagney-O'Brien films you know who she's going to wind up with. Haines also dallies a bit with South Sea native girl Carmel Myers and his attentions start a small war on that said island.

A few years away from being cast as Chinese detective Charlie Chan, Warner Oland plays a lean and mean Chinese bandit chief, threatening the lives of all and virtue of the females at a Chinese mission. Americans were very sensitive on that subject, giving money at collection time at church services for Chinese missions. Back then it seemed like every church in America was sponsoring a missionary in China.

Though it's not a genre that the silent screen was especially known for, Tell It To The Marines is a rollicking good service comedy and a nice change of pace for the Man of a Thousand Faces to be seen as his own true self.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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