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The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 10 November 1933 (USA)
An ex-sailor turned boxer finds romance and gets a shot at the heavyweight title.


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Primo Carnera ...
Willie Ryan
Robert McWade ...
Adopted Son
Jean Howard ...
Show Girl


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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Girls! There's a new passion in your life! See more »


Comedy | Crime | Romance | Sport


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 November 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sailor and the Lady  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fred 'Snowflake' Toones is in studio records/casting call lists for the role of "Trainer," but he did not appear or was not identifiable in the movie. A Contemporary Motion Picture Herald article stated that Lionel Barrymore, Jean Hersholt, Lupe Velez and Johnny Weissmuller were to appear as fight fans in the audience of the championship fight, but they were not seen. 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 »


Willie Ryan: Are ya on the junk?
See more »


Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »


Downstream Drifter
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by David Snell
Lyrics by Gus Kahn and Ray Egan
Sung by Myrna Loy (dubbed by Bernice Alstock)
See more »

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User Reviews

Lousy title - adult and sophisticated Screenplay

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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