James Stewart, Robert Young, and Florence Rice in Navy Blue and Gold (1937)


(director: Sam Wood; screenwriter: story by George Bruce/George Bruce; cinematographer: ohn Seitz; editor: Robert J. Kern; music: Edward Ward; cast: James Stewart (John Tuck Cross), Robert Young (Roger Ash), Tom Brown (Richard Gates Jr.), Lionel Barrymore (Capt. Skinny Dawes), Samuel S. Hinds (Richard A. Gates, Sr.), Florence Rice (Patricia Gates), Billie Burke (Mrs. Alyce Gates), Paul Kelly (Tommy Milton), Frank Albertson (Weeks), Red Barry (Mason), Paul Barrett (Classmate), Barnett Parker (Graves, butler); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Zimbalist ; Warner Home Video; 1937)

If you like to see old-time football, where the players wear leather helmets, this one scores a TD.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Entertaining but cliched movie about the travails of playing football at the Naval Academy. It tells the story of a Naval cadet who overcomes his dark secret of shame. Though the George Bruce story is hardly fresh material, the film is competently helmed by Sam Wood (“Kings Road”/”Kitty Foyle”/”A Night at the Opera”) and the production values are excellent. If you like to see old-time football, where the players wear leather helmets, this one scores a TD.

Three young men from different backgrounds are roommates as plebes at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Richard Gates (Tom Brown) is the scion of a wealthy family; John “Truck” Cross (James Stewart) is a mysterious and reclusive enlisted man in the Navy; Roger Ash (Robert Young) is a cynical, cocky and rebellious kid with an irreverent attitude, who played football at Southern Institute.

The roommates all play plebe football. During the winter recess, Dick invites them to visit his family’s estate for dinner. This results in Roger and Tuck vying for the affections of Dick’s attractive sister Patricia (Florence Rice).

Capt. Skinny Dawes *Lionel Barrymore), a crusty Naval Academy graduate and a long-time fixture at the school, becomes a father figure to the trio by mentoring and helping them handle their problems.

As one would expect the climax is at the football game with Army, whereby the trio are now upper-class-men on the varsity. Star player Tuck awaits word if he will be bounced for lying during admission when he registered under an assumed name. The reason he did so was because he was anxious to clear the name of his father, who was dishonorably discharged from Annapolis, and didn’t want to risk being rejected for that reason.

You don’t have to be a professional gambler to handicap who wins the Army-Navy game.