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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?


The movie was banned by the Nazi government of Germany because Max Baer was Jewish. When asked about it, Baer joked, "They didn't ban me because I was Jewish. They banned me because I knocked out Max Schmeling in the ring." See more »


Near the end of the film, after the big match, in Belle's dressing room, in one shot Willie has a cigarette to his mouth in his right hand and his left is in his pocket. In the next wider shot, he's smoking with his left hand and his right is in his pocket. See more »


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


Referenced in The Doris Day Show: The Prizefighter and the Lady (1970) See more »


Lucky Fella
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Sung by Max Baer and chorus girls
See more »

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User Reviews

typical boxing/girl mix-up...with one big difference
16 May 2003 | by (st. louis) – See all my reviews

Actress Myrna Loy is one of the legendary names in (early) Hollywood. In her biography, she admits that the only major mistake she made in her career was underestimating the raw physicality and animal presence, as well as the dominating personality, of heavyweight champion-to-be Max Baer for "The Prizefighter and the Lady". This film was made in 1933, less than a year before Baer demolished Primo Carnera for the title. The 6-3, 225-pound Baer was 24 when this film was made, and at his physical peak. His chiseled features rivaled those of any actor. Though Baer had never had formal drama training, his sheer presence---and fun-loving personality---often dominated scenes, regardless of those with him. Nowhere is it more evident than in this film. Despite the skills and experience of his primary co-stars, Baer utterly overshadows everyone. About all Loy and everyone else can do here is try not to look too much overshadowed. Everyone who knew Baer, including those who fought him---such as Joe Louis---stated that Max was a frustrated performer. As for the film itself, as an early talkie, its plot and character interactions were quite elementary. Corny might best describe them. Loy, and Otto Krueger, when not in scenes with Baer, demonstrate solid acting. For fight fans, this is a Who's Who. Some of the greatest names of early boxing appear here in walk-on roles. Jack Dempsey, just seven years removed from his championship days, is the referee in Baer's climactic title fight with cinema---and actual world champion---Carnera. Other renowned figures are Jim Jeffries and Jess Willard (former heavyweight titlists), and former heavyweight challengers Tom Sharkey and Frank Moran. Some trivia: Baer here played a character named Steve Morgan. Though his celluloid fight with Carnera was judged a draw, Morgan gives the champ quite a beating early in the bout. When Baer and Carnera actually met for the championship, on June 14, 1934, at New York's Long Island City Bowl, Max entered the ring wearing not his own robe, but the one from the film...with Steve Morgan's name emblazoned on the back. Obviously, it was an attempt to psych Carnera. One of the ringside reporters quipped: "Too bad Max couldn't make it tonight. I think he might have beaten Primo." Whichever name he used, Baer knocked down Carnera a record 11 times in 11 rounds before the referee stopped the bout and awarded Max the crown. This film is worth watching for the charismatic Baer, his exciting and entertaining battle with Carnera, and all those historic boxing figures.

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