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The Patent Leather Kid (1927)

A boxer has difficulty balancing his sport with a budding romance; both are further jeopardized when the United States enters the first World War.


Alfred Santell


Gerald C. Duffy (titles), Winifred Dunn | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Barthelmess ... Patent Leather Kid
Molly O'Day ... Curley Boyle, the Golden Dancer
Lawford Davidson ... Lieutenant Hugo Breen
Matthew Betz ... Jake Stuke
Arthur Stone ... Jimmy Kinch
Ray Turner ... Mabile Molasses (as Raymond Turner)
Hank Mann ... Sergeant
Walter James Walter James ... Officer Riley
Lucien Prival ... The German Officer
Nigel De Brulier ... The French Doctor
Fred O'Beck Fred O'Beck ... Tank Crew
Clifford Salam Clifford Salam ... Tank Crew
Henry Murdock Henry Murdock ... Tank Crew
Charles Sullivan Charles Sullivan ... Tank Crew
John Kolb John Kolb ... Tank Crew


A boxer has difficulty balancing his sport with a budding romance; both are further jeopardized when the United States enters the first World War.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fries of youth and courage that will set your heart ablaze! The love-romance that Broadway held dear to its heart for four months! See more »


Drama | Romance | Sport | War





Release Date:

1 September 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mundo que nace See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was Richard Barthelmess's first film for First National Pictures after the dissolution his own production company, Inspiration Pictures. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood: Hollywood Goes to War (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Big Film Starring Richard Barthelmess
13 May 2007 | by drednmSee all my reviews

THE PATENT LEATHER KID ranks among the great silent films. Based on the best-selling novel by Rupert Hughes, this long and ambitious film is almost two films in one.

Richard Barthelmess, who won an Oscar nomination for best actor, stars as the boxing champion known as the Patent Leather Kid because of his hair (think of Rudolph Valentino). He's a cocky fighter who, between rounds in the ring, has his fair combed while the opponent gasps for air and is washed down. Molly O'Day plays Curley, a kooch dancer who gets involved with the Kid and brings him down. She's a bad-luck gal and diverts the Kid's attentions from his business: boxing.

The comes World War I. The second half of the film shows the horrors of war as the Kid struggles in the trenches. Who should also arrive in Europe but Curley, who is now a nurse.

Both Barthelmess and O'Day are exceptional in the final scenes when the wounded Barthelmess is delivered to the hospital. He's been wounded after a n heroic deed. He's caked in muck and mud and O'Day is just superb as she wipes away the mud from his face and slowly starts to recognize the Kid. The doctor has so many casualties to deal with he's willing to let Barthelmess die because he's so badly wounded, but O'Day begs and pleads and the doctor relents. He lives but is badly crippled.

As the war grinds on there is a wonderful and moving finale involving the American flag.

Barthelmess lost the Oscar to Emil Jannings.

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