The Duke of West Point

The Duke of West Point
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Charles Kerr (assistant)
Produced by Edward Small
Written by George Bruce
Starring Louis Hayward
Joan Fontaine
Tom Brown
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
December 1938
Country USA
Language English

The Duke of West Point is a 1938 film.[1] It was described as A Yank at Oxford in reverse".[2]


An American diplomat's son, Steven Early, having been educated in England, comes to West Point and enrolls, nicknamed "The Duke" by the others because of his background and bearing.

Steve becomes a scholar and athlete, excelling in ice hockey. His roommates and friends are cadets Sonny Drew and Jack West, and he develops a romantic interest in Ann Porter, angering another cadet who loves her.

When word reaches him that Jack's mother is seriously ill and can't afford proper medical care, Steve sneaks off campus to wire money to her, making her promise not to tell who sent it. Caught upon his return, Steve's being absent without explanation is considered a dishonorable act and results in his being shunned by all other cadets for the next two years, given the silent treatment.

Before a big hockey game against a team of cadets from Canada, a serious accident befalls Sonny that leaves him unable to play, with possible permanent damage. Steve wears his friend's jersey and helps West Point win the game, but has made up his mind to submit his resignation as soon as the game ends. By then, the others have learned from Jack's now-well mother what Steve did for her, and he is welcomed back to the academy by all.


This was the first movie Edward Small made back at United Artists after a stint at RKO.[3]

The movie was originally meant to star ice skater Jack Dunn (the story climaxes with an ice hockey game) but the part had to be recast after he died in July 1938, just before production was about to commence.[4][5] Louis Hayward, a friend of Dunn's, was given the lead instead.[6] Edward Small subsequently signed Hayward to a multi-picture deal.[7]

A number of former silent film stars had supporting roles.[8]

The script had approval of West Point.[9] Richard Carlson was borrowed from David O. Selznick and Joan Fontaine was borrowed from RKO. Filming started on September 22, 1938.[10]


Reviews were mixed.[11]



  1. {{cite news|title=The Duke of West Point at TCMDB
  2. ACTING FOR STAGE AND SCREEN: DIANA WYNYARD ON DEMANDS OF DIFFERENT MEDIUMS|author=|work=The Scotsman|location=Edinburgh, Scotland|date=11 July 1939|page=13}}
  3. Schallert, Edwin (23 May 1938). ""Christmas Carol" Will Ring Out Ere Yuletide: "Beau Brummell" Slated Wanger-Dieterle Deal Donat Signs for Term Hope Hampton Records". Los Angeles Times. p. A14.
  4. Schallert, Edwin (22 July 1938). "Producer Will Seek Successor to Dunn: French Player to Sign Beery to Go Romantic Beverly Roberts Cast Fitzgerald Assigned". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  5. "HIGHLIGHTING THE WEEK'S NEWS". New York Times. 19 June 1938. p. 3.
  6. Schallert, Edwin (7 Sep 1938). "Hayward to Portray 'Duke of West Point': Swarthout at Warners Lorna Lynn Contracted 'Musketeers' Cast Set Build-up for Garfield". Los Angeles Times. p. A16.
  7. Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. (1 Nov 1938). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Louis Hayward to Play Lead in 'Man in the Iron Mask' for United Artists OPENING AT CONTINENTAL ' The Singing Blacksmith,' New Yiddish Picture, Will Begin Engagement Today Casting for "Hotel Imperial" Coast Scripts Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 27.
  8. "'The Duke of West Point' Reflects Academy Spirit: An Able Cast Makes Service Romance Seem Real; 'Movie Quiz Contest' Entries Hit High Mark; News Notes and Gossip of the Theater". The Washington Post. 4 Jan 1939. p. 14.
  9. DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL (13 Nov 1938). "OUT AGAIN IN AGAIN CORRIGAN: Once Icy Toward Press He Thaws Out for Dear Old RKOJosef Von Sternberg Against the Gods". New York Times. p. 5.
  10. Schallert, Edwin (22 Sep 1938). "Political Subject Next on Capra Slate: 'Career Man' Planned Sheehan May Sign Janet Woods Back in Films 'West Point' Cast Set". Los Angeles Times. p. 19.
  11. FRANK S. NUGENT (16 Dec 1938). "THE SCREEN: The Navy Will Approve 'Duke of West Point' at the Music Hall--'Comet Over Broadway' at Palace At the Palace". New York Times. p. 33.
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