For the Love of Mike

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For the Love of Mike
movie poster
Directed byFrank Capra
Produced byRobert Kane
Written byJ. Clarkson Miller
Leland Hayward
Based onHell's Kitchen
by John A. Moroso
StarringBen Lyon
Claudette Colbert
George Sidney
Richard "Skeets" Gallagher
Ford Sterling
Hugh Cameron
CinematographyErnest Haller
Robert Kane Productions
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
  • July 31, 1927 (1927-07-31)
Running time
75 min
CountryUnited States
English Intertitles

For the Love of Mike (originally titled Hell's Kitchen) is a 1927 American silent romantic drama film. Directed by Frank Capra, it starred Claudette Colbert (in her film debut) and Ben Lyon.[1][2] It is now considered to be a lost film.[3]


A baby boy is found abandoned in a Hell's Kitchen tenement and subsequently is raised by three men: a German delicatessen owner (Sterling), a Jewish tailor (Sidney), and an Irish street cleaner (Cameron). They adopt the boy and raise him as their own. The timeline jumps 20 years into their future. The now-grown Mike (Lyon) resists going to college because he does not wish to be a financial burden to his adoptive fathers, however a pretty Italian girl, Mary (Colbert) working at the delicatessen convinces him to go.

Mike enrolls at Yale and gains a reputation as a sports hero. He disavows his three fathers, which leads to the Irishman giving him a thrashing in front of the boy's best friends. He begins to associate with gamblers and ends up owing them money. To settle his debts, they demand he purposely lose the school's big rowing match with Harvard. His three fathers and the girl come to support him during the race, and he defies the gamblers and wins the race. His three fathers then come forward to confront and deal with the gamblers.[4]



For the Love of Mike is based on the story Hell's Kitchen by John Moroso.[4] Frank Capra himself referred to the film as his first flop.[5][6] Having recently ended his association as writer for actor Harry Langdon, this became Capra's first opportunity to direct a New York based production.[7] Producer Robert Kane had contracts to provide First National Pictures with 10 films, and had planned each to be financed with profits from the preceding.[6]

For the Love of Mike was the tenth in this package, funding was limited, and agent Leland Hayward convinced Capra into deferring his salary until the end of production.[5] Capra was never paid for his participation.[7] The film was considered a commercial failure despite a strong cast and decent production values.[7]

Preservation status[edit]


The film is marked as being the screen debut of Claudette Colbert and her only silent film appearance.[8][9][10] After the film received poor reviews and failed financially, Colbert vowed, "I shall never make another film".[11] However, two years later, she signed with Paramount Pictures.[12]


Mordaunt Hall of New York Times wrote that the film "makes no pretensions of being anything but a movie. It seemed to satisfy the audience at the Hippodrome yesterday afternoon, for there was laughter and, at the end, applause", and concluded "Claudette Colbert, who was seen in Kenyon Nicholson's play "The Barker," lends her charm to this obstreperous piece of work. She seems quite at home before the camera".[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "For the Love of Mike (1927)". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  2. ^ "For the Love of Mike (1927)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  3. ^ SilentEra entry
  4. ^ a b Robert Sklar, Vito Zagarrio (1998). Robert Sklar, Vito Zagarrio, ed. Frank Capra: authorship and the studio system (illustrated ed.). Temple University Press. p. 51. ISBN 9781566396080.
  5. ^ a b Capra, Frank (1997). The name above the title: an autobiography (illustrated ed.). Da Capo Press. pp. 73–78, 93, 166. ISBN 9780306807718.
  6. ^ a b c McBride, Joseph (1992). Frank Capra: the catastrophe of success (illustrated ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780671734947.
  7. ^ a b c Erickson, Hal. "For the Love of Mike". Allmovie.
  8. ^ a b "Claudette Colbert". Classic Film Guide. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  9. ^ Rausch, Andrew J. (2003). Hollywood's All-Time Greatest Stars: A Quiz Book. Citadel Press. ISBN 9780806524696. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "Studio Flashes". The Age. July 17, 1937. Retrieved 2009-08-18.[dead link]
  11. ^ Stempel, Tom (1980). Screenwriter, the life and times of Nunnally Johnson (illustrated ed.). A. S. Barnes. ISBN 9780498023620.
  12. ^ "Biography for Claudette Colbert". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
  13. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (August 24, 1927). "The Screen; Ben Lyon, the Athlete". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-18.

External links[edit]