Oscar Movies: Patent Leather Kid, The (1927)–Richard Barthelmess in Oscar-Nominated Performance

Richard Barthelmess recived a Best Actor Oscar nomination in the first year of the awarsd for this silent film, made at the height of his’ popularity.

Barthelmess plays a cocky prizefighter who seems to be unconcerned when the US enters World War One.  Doing his best to avoid the army, the boxer is shamed into signing up by his girl friend Molly O’Day.

But once on the battlefields of France, Barthelmess forsakes his previous selfishness and becomes committed to the cause. While performing a conspicous act of bravery, he is permanently crippled.

The finale, in which the paraplegic Barthelmess salutes the American flag, is the emotional highlight of the film, a scene that is stillarousing today.

Oscar Context:

The winner was German actor Emil Jannings for two films, The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.


Directed by Alfred Santell

Written by Winfred Dunn, Adela Rogers St. John, Rupert Hughes.