(Review originally written at 14 May 2008)

Director Raoul Walsh was like the Michael Bay of the '40's and years before that. And I mean that in a positive way, since I'm definitely ain't no Bay-hater. His movies are just simple high quality entertainment, just like the Raoul Walsh movies were in his days.

"Gentleman Jim" is fine quality entertainment. Besides a first class director, it also features a first grade cast, with Raoul Walsh's regular leading man Errol Flynn in the main part.

What surprised me was how well the boxing matches were brought to the screen. They used some very dynamic camera-work, which also really made the boxing matches uplifting and exciting to watch, with the end championship fight against John L. Sullivan as the ultimate highlight.

Biopics of the '40's and earlier on were obviously still very much different from biographies being made this present day. Modern biographies often glorify its main subject and show his/her life from basically birth till death and everything, mostly emotional aspects, in between. 'Old' biopics were just made the same as movies that weren't based on actual real life persons, which also means that the film-makers would often use a use amount of creative liberty with the main character's personality and events that happened in his/her life. This movie is also not just a biography about a boxing legend but also forms a nice portrayal from the period when illegal bare knuckle fighting entered the modern era of boxing.

Errol Flynn does a great job portraying the real life famous boxer James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim. Not too many people known it but Flynn did some real good acting jobs in the '40's, of which this movie is one. Fysicaly he also looks in top-shape. He also looks quite different by the way without his trademark small mustache in this movie. The movie also features some fine supporting actors and some fine acting throughout.

A great and entertaining movie that also still truly holds up real well today.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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