Oscar Roles: Barthelmes, Richard, Patent Leather Kid–Cocky Prizefighter

Richard Barthelmess received a Best Actor Oscar nomination in the first year of the awarsd for The Patent Leather Kid, a silent film, as well as for The Noose, both made at the height of his popularity.

He was 32 at the time and was never nominated again.

Born May 9, 1895, died August 19, 1963, at age 68.

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.