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Excellent boxing film with superb character acting
One of the very best boxing films of the 1930's and early 1940's and very definitely much better than the 1947 remake with Mickey Roony as "Killer" McCoy. Robert Ryan looks like a light heavyweight and it looks like he can actually throw a punch. As a boxing fan I look for a sense of reality in the fights, and this film has it.
However, the best part of the film are the performances, especially Frank Morgan (the wizard in the 1939, Judy Garland version of "The Wizard of Oz"). Other notable performances are turned in by a young Lionel Stander as the killer's trainer (TV fans will remember him from Hart to Hart). Young and handsome Eddy Arnold is excellent as the gambler/manager. Maureen O'Sullivan carries off the role of the young, college girl love interest with the same innocence she displayed when she broke into films 9 years and 39 films earlier. It's quite a contrast to the more adult roles she was playing at the time.
Director Richard Thorpe captures the atmosphere of the boxing ring and the gambling world quite convincingly. His attention to detail and experience (this is his 120th film) are quite evident, though necessarily the most imaginative. While the film IS superior to the 1947 remake, the director of that film, Roy Rowland, does a much better job of showing the crowd's blood lust in the 8th round of the final fight.
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