I like Robert Taylor films and every time one comes on TV, I am sure to watch it. However, despite my enjoying his movies, I must admit that the casting in "The Crowd Roars" is simply insane. The idea of the Taylor playing a professional boxer is just ludicrous. He simply comes off as too scrawny and too pretty. His moniker, "Killer" McCoy, seems awfully silly.
The begins with Frank Morgan the ne'er-do-well father of a nice young boy who eventually grows up and is then played by Taylor. In the interim, the rotten father exploits his kid in every possible way in order to avoid having to get a real job. Eventually, Taylor makes his mark as a boxer--and up and coming fighter who is befriended by the champion (William Gargan). Along the way two serious problems occur. First, Morgan blows through his son's money like mad and never shows any regard for his meal ticket! This gets so bad, he eventually sells his son's contract! Why Taylor has anything to do with this jerk is beyond me--there is NOTHING redeeming about him (perhaps this is a weakness of the film, actually--making the father too unlikable and selfish--fortunately, this was mitigated at the end). Second, along the way towards to the top, Taylor meets up in the ring with his friend. The Champ is now old and retired--and comes out of retirement because he needs the money. In this fight, the Champ goes down and stays down--dead. Taylor freaks out and, temporarily, leaves the fight game--too upset to continue. But, as his father wouldn't let him go to school or learn a decent trade, he's only good as a fighter and is forced to return.
By this point, Taylor is owned by a wealthy guy (Edward Arnold) who, for some reason, wants to remain completely incognito. And, he instructs Taylor to tell no one about their arrangement. Along the way, he meets Arnold's charming daughter (Maureen O'Sullivan) and it's pretty obvious that they'll fall in love. In addition, there is a plot involving a kidnapping just before 'the big fight'! Overall, a moderately engaging but oddly cast film. It's got quite a few clichés but because the actors are so good it still is enjoyable--even if it completely lacks realism.
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