Film poster
Directed by Edward F. Cline
Fred Fleck (assistant)
Produced by William Le Baron
Louis Sarecky (assoc.)
Written by Alfred Jackson
Jane Murfin
Based on musical comedy play, Present Arms
by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Herbert Fields
Starring Irene Dunne
Eddie Foy Jr.
Music by Victor Baravalle
Oscar Levant
Sidney Clare
Cinematography J. Roy Hunt
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • September 12, 1930 (1930-09-12) (Premiere-New York City)[1]
  • September 22, 1930 (1930-09-22) (US)[2]
Running time
79 min.
Country United States
Language English

Leathernecking (1930) is an American pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Edward F. Cline, from a screenplay by Alfred Jackson and Jane Murfin, adapted from the Broadway musical comedy Present Arms, by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Herbert Fields.

Although based on a musical, it used only two of the original Rodgers and Hart songs from the Broadway hit, along with original songs, including three by Oscar Levant and Sidney Clare. An early part-color feature film with a Technicolor insert, this film was Irene Dunne's film debut, although no copies of it are thought to exist.


Chick Evans is a Marine private in Honolulu, Hawaii. He falls for society girl Delphine Witherspoon, and begins to scheme as to how to win her over. His first plan involves impersonating an officer in order to get invited to a society party. However, when his Marine buddies decide to crash the party as well, his real rank is revealed, and so having the opposite effect on Delphine as he had planned.

Despondent, he bares his soul to a mutual friend, Edna, who arranges to have the two reunited on Delphine's yacht at sea. However, this meeting goes terribly wrong as well, and a desperate Chick convinces the yacht's captain to fake a shipwreck, in order to give him time to win Delphine over. Unfortunately, a real storm arises and the ship is actually wrecked, coming to rest on a desert island. While on the island, Chick's persistence pays off, and he gets the girl. Not only that, on their return to Honolulu, he is hailed as a hero and promoted to Captain.


(Cast list as per AFI database)[2]

Songs (partial list)

"You Took Advantage Of Me" and "A Kiss For Cinderella" were written by Rodgers and Hart. The other songs were written by Oscar Levant and Sidney Clare, except for "All My Life", which had words and music by Benny Davis and Harry Akst.[2][3]


This film is now considered a lost film. The musical comedy on which this film was based, Present Arms, ran from April through September 1928 at Lew Fields' Mansfield Theatre (currently the Brooks Atkinson Theatre). Produced by Lew Fields, it had music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, with a book by Herbert Fields. It starred and was choreographed by Busby Berkeley.[4]

In 1958, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]

See also


  1. "Leathernecking". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2014. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  2. 1 2 3 "Leathernecking: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  3. "Leathernecking: Review Summary". New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  4. "Present Arms". International Broadway Database. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  5. Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal. 19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. JSTOR 25165419. OCLC 15122313. See Note #60, pg. 143

External links

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