Recently fired by comedian Harry Langdon, young director Frank Capra found it difficult to line up any new projects. He was finally afforded the opportunity to direct a New York-based production originally titled Hell's Kitchen, but eventually released as For the Love of Mike. The story is the old bromide about three men -- Irishman O'Malley (Hugh Cameron), German Schultz (Ford Sterling) and Jewish Katz (George Sidney) -- who adopt an orphaned lad named Mike (played as an adult by Ben Lyon) and finance his education. Once he gets into Yale, Mike nearly falls in with a bad crowd but in the end is redeemed by the love of pert coed Mary (Claudette Colbert, in her movie debut). Despite a strong supporting cast and worthwhile production values, For the Love of Mike was sabotaged by distribution problems and ended up a failure -- and worst of all, Frank Capra was never paid for his participation. Completely on the outs in Hollywood, Capra was forced to take a job at bottom-barrel Columbia Pictures, which in the long run turned out to be immeasurably beneficial for both director and studio. As for newcomer Claudette Colbert, she too managed to survive the For Love of Mike debacle, eventually winning an Academy Award for her work in the Frank Capra-directed It Happened One Night.
by Hal Erickson synopsis