Coach Frank Cavanaugh returns to college football after World War I, then gradually goes blind.



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Complete credited cast:
Francis William 'Frank' / 'Cav' Cavanaugh
Florence Ayres Cavanaugh
Father Timothy 'Tim' Donovan
Robert 'Bob' Stewart
Private Manning
Lieutenant Jones
David 'Davie' Cavanaugh


Coach Frank Cavanaugh returns to college football after World War I, then gradually goes blind.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama






Release Date:

1 April 1944 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Capitão Ferro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 24, 1944 with Pat O'Brien and Ruth Warrick reprising their film roles. See more »


In the Fordham=NYU game the announcer reports that Fordham scores a touchdown, putting them ahead 13-0. Watching the visual image, however, clearly shows that the player is stopped 3 or 4 yards short of the touchdown, and the crowd does not respond to any touchdown. See more »

Crazy Credits

RKO Pictures wishes to gratefully acknowledge the gracious cooperation of ... and Major Frank Cavanaugh's legion of friends and admirers. See more »


Academic Festival Overture in C, Opus 80
(1880) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
In the score during the acknowledgement of college cooperation
See more »

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User Reviews

A Poor Man's Knute Rockne
20 September 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One must remember that this film came out in the middle of World War II and Hollywood was busy churning out propaganda flicks like they were going out of style. Frank Cavanaugh was a noted football coach pre and post World War I and in that war he enlisted and became a wounded hero.

Pat O'Brien had left Warner Brothers a few years earlier and signed with RKO. One of his last films there was Knute Rockne - All American which was probably his most famous part. I've listened to recordings of Rockne who was famous for his locker room pep speeches and in truth he does sound like Pat O'Brien which made O'Brien such a felicitous choice in casting.

So O'Brien was stereotyped, he played fast talking press agents, managers, reporters etc., in most of his films so he had it down pat. (pun intended) The only time O'Brien slowed down was when he played priests.

It's not that the Iron Major is a bad film, but it broke no new ground. I don't know if the real Frank Cavanaugh was like, maybe he was like Pat O'Brien. I got the impression that O'Brien was just feeling like he'd done this all before.

One thing that truly annoyed me though was, why were they so mysterious about the disease that killed him. We know he was wounded in World War I, he apparently developed some complications that killed him in the mid-thirties, but RKO chose for whatever reasons to be purposely vague about it.

I asked someone I know who's two generations removed from me to watch the film. He was a high school football player and that kind of film left him cold. So I suppose Frank Cavanaugh if people remember him now will await a better biographical film.

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