Flirtation Walk is a 1934 romantic musical film written by Delmer Daves and Lou Edelman, and directed by Frank Borzage. It focuses on a soldier (Dick Powell) who falls in love with a general's daughter (Ruby Keeler) during the general's brief stop in Hawaii, but she leaves with her father for the Philippines before their relationship can blossom. They are re-united several years later when the soldier is about to graduate from West Point and the general becomes the Academy's Commandant.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Borzage|
|Produced by||Robert Lord|
|Written by||Delmer Daves|
Lou Edelman (Original Story)
|Music by||Allie Wrubel|
|Edited by||William Holmes|
William Phelan (Assistant Editor)
|Distributed by||First National Picture, Incorporated|
The Vitaphone Corporation
Richard Palmer Grant Dorcy Jr. (Powell), a.k.a. "the Canary" and "the singing bird of the tropics," is an enlisted man in the United States Army. Stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, he has a contentious but friendly relationship with his sergeant, Scrapper Thornhill (Pat O'Brien). When General Fitts (Henry O'Neill) visits the post with his daughter Kit (Keeler) on their way to Manila, Dick is assigned to drive her to a reception that evening. Falling victim to the moonlit night, Kit and Dick attend a luau instead. They are discovered in each other's arms by Scrapper and Lieutenant Biddle (John Eldredge), who is also in love with Kit. Biddle accuses Dick of ruining Kit's reputation and forcing her to accompany him off post. Dick decides to desert. Scrapper begs Kit to straighten things out with Biddle.
To prevent Dick from deserting, Kit tells him that she was responding to a crazy impulse and he means nothing to her. Stung by her words, and Biddle's condescending statement that "if you were an officer and a gentleman, you'd understand," Dick decides to compete with Biddle as an equal and applies for West Point. He is accepted and does very well, to Scrapper's delight. In his First Class year, Dick becomes First Captain and General Fitts is appointed Academy superintendent, with Biddle present as his aide. While most of his classmates are infatuated with Kit, Dick is cold to her. Consequently, he is not very happy when the rest of the men insist that she participate in the traditional "Hundredth Night" theatrical performance that he is to direct.
Dick writes a comedy about a female general with a message directed at Kit. After the first rehearsal, Kit walks with Dick on Flirtation Walk and tries to explain why she told him she was not in love with him. Dick is too angry to listen to Kit, but during their on-stage love scene kisses her, and she admits she loves him. When, near graduation, General Fitts announces Kit's engagement to Biddle, Dick naturally is confused, and visits her after lights out to talk her out of marrying Biddle. He is caught by Biddle and, at Biddle's suggestion, agrees to resign from the Academy to protect Kit's name. Scrapper arrives at the Academy to see Dick graduate and is disappointed to learn of his resignation. The day is saved when Biddle tells Dick that his resignation was not accepted and that Kit returned his ring, wishing him good luck. Dick graduates a happy man.
- Dick Powell - Richard "the Canary" Palmer Grant Dorcy Jr.
- Ruby Keeler - Kit Fitts
- Pat O'Brien - Scrapper Thornhill
- Ross Alexander - Oskie
- John Arledge - Spike
- John Eldredge - Lieutenant Biddle
- Henry O'Neill - General Fitts
- Guinn Williams - Sleepy
- Frederick Burton - General Landacre
- John Darrow - Chase
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The New York Times review reports that many scenes were actually shot at West Point. According to news items in The Hollywood Reporter, Bobby Connolly started shooting the Hawaiian number on July 3, 1934 on the biggest set ever constructed at Warner Bros. studios. He was scheduled to finish on July 10, at which time he would start the military wedding number using over 400 professional dancers. The success of the film led Warner Brothers to combine Powell, Keeler, Alexander and Arledge again with Borzage and Daves under similar circumstances of plot and character to make Shipmates Forever, a film about the United States Naval Academy, the following year.
According to Warner Bros records the film earned $1,062,000 domestically and $471,000 internationally.
- "Flirtation Walk"
- "I See Two Lovers"
- "Mr. and Mrs. Is the Name"
- "When Do We Eat?"
- "Smoking in the Dark"
- "No Horse, No Wife, No Mustache"
- Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 16 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
- "The 7th Academy Awards (1935) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-07.