Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »
Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy "Champ" Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there's nothing Andy wouldn't do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda's rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda's son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink's place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion. Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A little schmatlzy, and the acting is a little overdone (we are talking about Wallace Beery, after all), but I really liked it. When it wanted me to cry, I cried, and didn't feel guilty about it. Beery plays a single father, a former boxer and current bum, living in Tijuana, drinking himself stupid and gambling any dime he gets his hands on away. His five year old son (Jackie Cooper) idolizes him, referring to him as Champ. His mother apparently left when he was a baby, but now she's back, cleaned up and married to a rich man (I like how the past is not overexplained). Thankfully, she's not played as a villain, but she is afraid her son isn't getting the best in life. Cooper is a little annoying, but like an actual five year-old would be annoying. For child actors at the time, he's damned good.
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