Prizefighter Jimmy Dolan accidentally kills a man at a party and escapes. He hides out at a health farm for invalid children and begins to lose his cynicism under the influence of the ... See full summary »
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Charles 'Chic' Sale,
Prizefighter Jimmy Dolan accidentally kills a man at a party and escapes. He hides out at a health farm for invalid children and begins to lose his cynicism under the influence of the children and of Peggy and Mrs. Moore, who run the farm. When a detective recognizes him, Jimmy must decide whether to escape or stay and face his responsibilities to the children. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Despite the miscasting of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as prizefighter and Light Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Dolan, The Life of Jimmy Dolan makes for good entertainment. After all, a film where you can see Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Loretta Young, John Wayne, and Mickey Rooney in the same film is worth catching.
I'm a big fan of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. who to me always epitomized class and elegance. And because of that, try as he might, he just doesn't come across as a pugilist. John Garfield would have faired no better taking on Fairbanks's kind of roles.
In those early days John Wayne was starring in his own B westerns, but occasionally he would support in another film. The Life of Jimmy Dolan gives you a rare glimpse of the Duke, not as the Duke. He plays an amateur fighter who is with the on-the-run Fairbanks. His scene is in the arena dressing room with Fairbanks as he's trying to psyche himself up for the upcoming bout.
Mickey Rooney plays one of the kids at the ranch run by Loretta Young and her aunt Aline McMahon. In They Made Me a Criminal the ranch was a camp for city kids, in The Life of Jimmy Dolan it is for kids who have infantile paralysis. It was originally started by Young's father who was a doctor and he's passed on, leaving her with kids and a mortgage. Of course in seeking screen properties for the Dead End Kids while they were under Warner Brothers contract, someone had the good idea to dust this one off which they already owned. The Dead End Kids are a little older than the youths here.
Loretta Young does well in her part and I'm convinced she probably helped John Wayne get the part he got. She and her sisters were friendly with the Duke and his first wife. He did a couple of films with Loretta in their salad days. They never worked together once Wayne hit it big in Stagecoach.
Even with the Code restrictions that They Made Me a Criminal had to operate under, I think it is better than The Life of Jimmy Dolan, because of the casting. But they really should be viewed side by side for comparison.
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