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Knockout is as you gather a boxing film fresh from the Warner Brothers B picture unit from Bryan Foy. It has the distinction of having three actors all of whom had long careers in the cinema, Arthur Kennedy, Anthony Quinn, and Cornel Wilde.
Kennedy is the star here, a rather arrogant young prizefrighter full of himself and thinking no one can lick him. He's going to get out of the fight racket before he becomes a punch drunk stumblebum. But he's got a young wife to support in Olympe Bradna so he reluctantly continues his career under a new manager Anthony Quinn. Wilde plays the decent young man who would like to get things going with Bradna, but she can only see Kennedy.
I think this film was once again something intended for James Cagney, but even Cagney with his street charm would have been hard pressed to make the character that Kennedy plays likable and sympathetic. Quinn as manager does do Kennedy dirt, but you almost can't blame him for what happens.
Kennedy and Quinn do manage to rise above their material and you can see why they became stars. Wilde just isn't given anything to work with and you can see Warner Brothers dropped him when he went off to World War II. No hint of the magnetism he showed later on when he became a lead.
There are a couple of other nice parts, Virginia Field as a smart mouth gossip columnist who starts her own gossip with Kennedy and Cliff Edwards as Kennedy's corner man.
Knockout had some potential, but it essentially remains a knockoff product from Warner Brothers assembly line.
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