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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


The Greatest Screen Achievement In Years 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?


Molly O'Day was selected out of 2000 actresses for her role in this film. It was her first credited role. See more »


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

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User Reviews

A Salute for Richard Barthelmess
22 June 2012 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In 1917 New York City, arrogant prizefighter Richard Barthelmess (as "The Patent Leather Kid") is so charismatic, he woos pretty "shimmy" dancer Molly O'Day (as Curley Callahan) even though she has attended a boxing match to root for Mr. Barthelmess' opponent. When the United States joins Europe in the Great War (aka World War I), Barthelmess doesn't show as much interest in fighting for his country as he does in fighting for fame and fortune. He is told, "it's better to be a live champ than a dead soldier." Ms. O'Day tries unsuccessfully to draw out Barthelmess' patriotism. Then, he is drafted...

This film could stand to lose about 30 minutes of its running time; during the early to mid-sections, much is superfluous. The battle scenes are fine, though, except for some initial marching. The end is a flag-waving classic...

"The Patent Leather Kid" is so named due to his slick, combed-back hairstyle, which Barthelmess seemed to prefer for the remainder of his career. This was a big hit for Barthelmess, who gets to use his great ability to make faces throughout; he won a well-deserved "Academy Award" nomination in the "Best Actor" category. O'Day made an impression with her hysterical nursing scene. Stuttering trainer Arthur Stone (as "Puffy" Kinch) and romantic rival Lawford Davidson (as Hugo Breen) lead the supporting cast. Were viewers were slow to find the already clichéd "black-eye" and "chocolate" racial jokes tiresome?

******** The Patent Leather Kid (8/15/27) Alfred Santell ~ Richard Barthelmess, Molly O'Day, Arthur Stone, Lawford Davidson

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