Brown of Harvard (1926 film)

Brown of Harvard is a 1926 American silent drama film directed by Jack Conway, and starring William Haines, Jack Pickford and Mary Brian. Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film is based on the successful 1906 Broadway play Brown of Harvard by Rida Johnson Young, who also co-wrote the popular music for the play along with Melvin Ellis.[1] The film is best known of the three Brown of Harvard films. It was John Wayne's film debut.[2] Uncredited, Wayne played a Yale football player. Grady Sutton and Robert Livingston, both of whom went on to long and successful careers, also appear uncredited. The 1918 film included future Boston Redskins coach William "Lone Star" Dietz and the only Washington State University football team to win a Rose Bowl.

Brown of Harvard
Lobby card
Directed byJack Conway
Produced byHarry Rapf
Written by
Based onBrown of Harvard (play)
by Rida Johnson Young
CinematographyIra H. Morgan
Edited byFrank Davis
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 2, 1926 (1926-05-02)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Harvard University student Tom Brown (William Haines) is a handsome, athletic, and carefree young man who has a reputation as a Don Juan among the ladies. Although he is popular on campus, he finds himself at odds with Bob McAndrew (Ralph Bushman), a studious, reserved boy who becomes his chief rival for the affections of beautiful Mary Abbott (Mary Brian), a professor's daughter. Tom rooms with Jim Doolittle (Jack Pickford), an awkward weakling but goodhearted backwoods youth who idolizes him. The brash and cocky Brown easily wins over his dormitory mates, but refuses to let them ostracize Jim.

One night at a party, Tom forcibly kisses Mary, which initiates a fight with Bob. Afterwards, Tom challenges Bob to a rowing competition; Bob is stroker on the college rowing team. Tom ends up losing. When he forces a confession of love from Mary, he begins to drink in shame. When he replaces Bob in a match against Yale, Tom collapses and is disgraced. He is persuaded by his father to go out for football.

To save his friend's reputation, the sickly Jim goes out and takes his place in the rain and is soon hospitalized. Tom plays in the game against Yale and at a crucial point gives Bob a chance to score for the team. After the game, Tom goes to the hospital to tell Jim of the victory, but Jim dies shortly afterward. Tom is acclaimed a school hero and is happily united with Mary.



  1. "Brown of Harvard". Internet Broadway 1, 2012. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. "Progressive Silent Film List: Brown of Harvard". Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  3. "Full cast and crew for Brown of Harvard". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
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