Sun 30 May 2010
TELL IT TO THE MARINES. MGM, 1926. Lon Chaney, William Haines, Eleanor Boardman, Eddie Gribbon, Carmel Myers, Warner Oland. Director: George Hill. Shown at Cinesation 1993, Saginaw MI.
This was a big hit for Chaney, and as in While the City Sleeps (MGM, 1928) it showcases Chaney in a non-horror role. Chaney is a tough sergeant, charged with the unenviable task of whipping unwilling recruit William Haines into shape before the unit ships out.
In both the 1926 and 1928 films, Chaney’s girl is won away by the younger man (criminal he’s trying to reform, recruit he’s trying to save), which allows Chaney to reveal the heart under the crusty exterior.
Superb entertainment, and, according to the notes, was just behind the studio’s Flesh and the Devil! at the box-office. Warner Oland has a small non-speaking role as a Chinese warlord, a role he was playing as early as 1920.