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Gentleman Jim (1942)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 14 November 1942 (USA)
As bareknuckled boxing enters the modern era, brash extrovert Jim Corbett uses new rules and dazzlingly innovative footwork to rise to the top of the top of the boxing world.



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Anna Held (as Madeleine LeBeau)
Father Burke
Dorothy Vaughan ...
Ma Corbett


Because boxing is a considered an illegal and disreputable enterprise in 1880's San Francisco, wealthy and influential members of the prestigious Olympic Club vow to make the sport a "gentlemanly" one. They sponsor a brash, extroverted young bank clerk named Jim Corbett, who quickly becomes an accomplished fighter under the new Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Despite his success, the young Irish-American's social pretensions and boastful manner soon estrange him from his benefactors, who plot to give their conceited former protégé a well-deserved comeuppance. Despite this, his dazzlingly innovative footwork helps him to beat a succession of bigger and stronger men, and he finally finds himself fighting for the world's championship against his childhood idol, John L. Sullivan. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 November 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der freche Kavalier  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The press announced Phil Silvers for the film, but he was never signed. Presumably he would played the Jack Carson role. See more »


Joe Choynski is shown as a big brute. The real Choynski was a middleweight who never weighed over 155 lb., and was much smaller than Corbett. See more »


James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim: [Watching his inebriated father's weaving walk home] Here comes Pop! Uh, he's walkin' the tightrope again.
See more »


Featured in The Adventures of Errol Flynn (2005) See more »


Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
(1887) (uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played by the band at the ball
See more »

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User Reviews

Flynn's Favorite Role, in Boxing Classic!
3 October 2003 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

GENTLEMAN JIM, Errol Flynn's last film of 1942, the year that saw his tempestuous personal life become public, was one of his greatest successes, and his personal favorite, as well. In the story of the 'father' of modern boxing, James J. Corbett, loosely based on the boxer's autobiography, the actor a had a chance to display a favorite hobby (Flynn was quite good, and had an off-screen habit of goading bar patrons into fights, just to 'show off' his skills), as well as play a character closer to his own flamboyant personality than the heroic cavaliers he had been 'typed' as, for nearly a decade.

The 'favorite son' in a brawling blue-collar family (Alan Hale, his friend and frequent co-star, portrays his father), Corbett has aspirations far beyond his job as a lowly bank clerk, and 'uses' socialite Victoria Ware (Alexis Smith) to get into the prestigious 'Olympic Club'. The snobbish members of the club, offended by his enormous ego, talk him into a 'little boxing exhibition' with a European champion. Expecting to see the young man flattened, Victoria and the millionaires are stunned when, displaying fancy footwork and natural skills, Corbett knocks out the professional. A drunken brawl at a post-fight social event lands Corbett and friend Walter Lowrie (Jack Carson) in Salt Lake City, penniless. Boxing provides a means to buy train tickets home, and the realization that, through pugilism, he can 'break into' society. A legendary career is thus begun...

Boxing, at the turn of the century, was a far more brutal sport than today, with the fighters seldom wearing gloves, and the fights running 30 rounds, or more, yet Corbett scores victory after victory, without a scar on his handsome face. Becoming a celebrity, he even stars in a popular stage show, dressed in a top hat and tails, and quoting Shakespeare, taking advantage of his nickname, 'Gentleman Jim'. While Victoria professes hating his cockiness, she feels drawn to him, although he has a way of always saying the wrong thing!

Meanwhile, in another stage show, the World Boxing Champion, legendary John L. Sullivan (Ward Bond, in one of his greatest screen roles), jumps rope and displays his prodigious strength to his adoring fans. Corbett goads the older man, constantly, finally forcing the champ to meet him in the ring. In an epic bout that would test both men's endurance, Sullivan 'meets his match', and Corbett learns humility...

Director Raoul Walsh obviously enjoyed working with Flynn (this was their third of eight teamings), and the actor felt far more comfortable with him than Michael Curtiz, whom he despised, despite their star-making work together. GENTLEMAN JIM was the best collaboration between Walsh and Flynn, and the film accurately captures the 'feel' of the era, striking a perfect balance of humor and drama. It, unfortunately, also marked the last major 'peak' in Flynn's Warner Brothers career; despite good reviews and box office, the WB, anticipating a public backlash over Flynn's highly-publicized rape trial, would move him into a series of war films, gradually lowering the quality of his productions.

The halcyon years for Errol Flynn were, sadly, coming to an end, even as he savored his greatest personal triumph...

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