(Review originally written at 15 February 2007)

This really is not the most original or enjoyable genre movie to watch. It features a formulaic love-story about a rising boxing star who falls for the girl of a notorious criminal.

It are the sport elements that still provide the movie with some good moments. It's interesting to see a boxing movie from the early '30's, when the sport itself was still so much different compared to now days. Especially the end match is a delight to watch. It's well and effectively filmed. A great finale, for an otherwise bit of dragging and formulaic movie.

Not sure what to think about the style. At times it seemed like the movie-makers tried to make the movie a comedy and at others it was more a sport movie, with the usual dramatic moments in it. They even managed to put musical numbers in the movie! Can you just now imaging a boxing champion appearing, singing and dancing on a stage? The movie is really a mixture of styles, that are not too well balanced. The movie too often switches from style, to give the movie an overall consistent atmosphere. Because of that the story also doesn't always work out as effective as it could had.

Not too happy about the acting in this movie either. Casting an athlete as the main character is always a questionable choice. Max Baer is good enough in some sequences but just plain bad in others, especially the ones that require some more emotional acting. Otto Kruger is also a bad choice as a tough gangster leader. He is far from believable in his role. And who ever told Jack Dempsey he could act? They gave him far too many lines, just because he is, well Jack Dempsey. The same goes for many other famous boxing champions of its period, that make a cameo in this movie toward the ending. Yet it also is what makes this movie so special to watch. What other movie does feature so many former boxing celebrities? It in a way still makes this an essential viewing for the boxing fan.

Definitely true that the end fight makes this movie worth watching but by no means this movie is a must-see.


About Frank Veenstra

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