This is clearly a B-movie. Even though made by Warner Brothers and having a bit more glitz than many Bs, it's clearly a B when it comes to the script. While it's not true of all Bs, most were very hastily written. After all, they were intended as a second feature--a lesser film with a lesser budget. "Knockout" is a B, as the script is clearly slapped together. It lacks subtlety and makes a HUGE mistake--it has a leading character that is simply unlikable. So, when the fat-headed boxer (Arthur Kennedy) is working his way up through the rankings, you just don't care. He's arrogant and selfish--and those are some of his BETTER qualities! With good writers, this might have been toned down a bit and softened, but here the script just doesn't work--nor is it all that convincing that Kennedy could be a boxer (Kennedy?!).
Despite this serious problem, is the film worth your time? Well, aside from the bad leading character, the film still has serious writing problems--one of the worst of which is naming the boxer 'Johnny Rocket'! And this is supposed to be his REAL name! And the characters are pretty much one-dimensional. The long-suffering wife is 'nice', the boxing promoter is manipulative, etc.--all caricatures, not realistic people. Again, this is not all that unusual for a B, but good Bs don't do this. Predictable, a bit dull and hard to like...this is not a recipe for entertainment!
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