Steve is just a heavy duty bartender when Edwin J. Bennett, known as the Professor, starts training him for the ring. While doing road work, he is almost killed by a speeding car which crashes into a ditch. In the car is Belle Mercer and her driver. Steve takes Belle to a farmhouse and is smitten by her, but she is Willie Ryan's Girl. The fight is a breeze and later, Steve again meets Belle with Willie. That night, Steve and Belle disappear and return married, much to the disappointment of Ryan. Then Steve starts training in ernest and is 19 for 19 in the ring. However, he has an eye for the women and an expanding ego to match. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In an interview, Myrna Loy stated that Max Baer carefully watched Primo Carnera's boxing style during the filming and used this information to beat him in their real-life match for the title in March, 1934. See more »
Steve buttons up his sweater, straightens the bottom and puts his hands in his pockets in one shot with the Professor. In the next shot, when he's facing Belle, he buttons the bottom buttons again (before putting his hands in his pockets again). See more »
That's the first time I ever knew I was stronger than Strangler Lewis.
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The title belies the production - one expects the usual cliches, but despite that poor title, this is a very adult and sophisticated look at relationships, both marital and extra-marital. The plot never goes in the direction you think it will. Boxing lug falls for crime boss's moll and marries her out from under his nose. Wonder of wonders though- the lug, although the star (Max Baer) is a cad, a womanizer who cheats on his lady love. Wonder of wonders, the boss doesn't threaten or try to rub out his competition - he really loves his lady and lets the lug have her, hoping she'll get wise and come back to him. Wonder of wonders, she asks for what she wants and needs, clearly communicates with the lug, and makes good on her word, leaving him when he won't reform and returning to her former protector. But it's not over yet, folks.
Loy turns in her best performance - just a year prior to THIN MAN stardom. She deserved an Oscar nom at least for her Belle Morgan. Likewise Walter Huston as the alcoholic manager, Edwin J. Bennett, in support (but they didn't have supporting acting awards in those days). The Original Story did net an Oscar nom (deservedly) but the Screenplay should have been recognized as well. It is very intelligently written.
Despite all these positive values, you also have some negatives. Baer is a charmless lunk in the lead and unless you are a devotee of prize fighting, the last half hour will leave you cold as all is worked out during the "big fight" onscreen.
This is overall a remarkably entertaining and thoughtful production, despite its forays into Palookadom. Very worth a watch.
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