Golden Gloves is an early example of what would become films such as CHAMPION, THE SET-UP and THE HARDER THEY FALL.
Richard Denning is an up and coming amateur boxer who makes a couple of bucks on the side, boxing for small time racketeer, J. Carrol Naish. Naish runs a string of boxing clubs that holds mismatched fights to packed crowds. "The people want knock-outs, and that's what i give them." Robert Paige is a newspaperman out to expose the racket which of course annoys Naish no end.
Paige arranges an amateur boxing tournament with straight up matches and proper refs, doctors etc. When George Ernest, the kid brother of Denning's fiancée, Jeanne Cagney, is killed in one of Naish's mismatches, Denning decides to join Paige and clean up the sport. Naish has other plans, and decides to wreck Paige's next event by planting a ringer, Robert Ryan. (Ryan's first credited role) Ryan's job is to win the amateur event and then tell the papers he is really a pro.
This of course would destroy Paige's attempt at cleaning up the sport. Naish now murders a boxer who threatens to spill the beans to the press. There is plenty of double dealing and knives to the back going on in this one. Edward Brophy, who plays a crooked manager, is a complete hoot to watch. Needless to say the last fight becomes a bout between Denning and the ringer, Ryan.
Denning manages to pull off a win to save the day while Naish and his gang are grabbed by John Law for the murder.
While I'm not saying this is an actual noir, there are plenty of flashes throughout the film. The cast and crew here would go on to be featured in many film noir.
The film was directed by Edward Dmytryk with help from an uncredited, Felix Feist. Dmytryk of course went on to helm the noir, MURDER MY SWEET, CORNERED, CROSSFIRE, OBSESSION and THE SNIPER. Feist also dabbled in film noir with THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE, THE THREAT, THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF, TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY, THE BASKETBALL FIX and THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS included in his resume.
The D of P was Henry Sharp who lensed MINISTRY OF FEAR, THE GLASS ALIBI, HIGH TIDE and GUILTY.
The film was written by noir regulars Maxwell Shane, FEAR IN THE NIGHT, THE NAKED STREET,THE GLASS WALL and Lewis R. Foster, who did CRASHOUT and MANHANDLED.
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