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Gentleman Jim (1942)

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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:
John Loder ...
Minor Watson ...
Madeleine Lebeau ...
Anna Held (as Madeleine LeBeau)
Harry Watson
Arthur Shields ...
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 protege 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 Gabe Taverney (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Approved | See all certifications »




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?


Errol Flynn did all of his own boxing stunts in the film, and although production was shut down for a time after Flynn suffered a mild heart attack, he came back and finished the picture without ever using a double. See more »


The night the Corbetts are moving out of their old home to go to the one that Jim had bought for them, the shadow of the boom mic is clearly seen moving along the left wall as they come down the outside steps. See more »


James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim: [Looking at an enormously oversized derby he has been given by Victoria as a joke] Well, it wouldn't take many of these to make a dozen. How'd you guess my size?
See more »


Referenced in Adam Adamant Lives!: Beauty Is an Ugly Word (1966) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
In the score during the opening credits and in scenes after the Sullivan fight
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Most Enjoyable of Flynn's Films; Intelligent and Lively Fun
2 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

James J. Corbett's autobiography "The Roar of the Crowd" was the starting point of this lively and well-remembered fictionalized biography. The author was heavyweight champion of the world, succeeding John L. Sullivan, before the turn of the century. The events of the narrative depict Corbett as a brash but likable and intelligent young man whose conquest of the world of boxing and social prejudice in his time, when he was considered merely the son of Irish immigrants, a lowly bank teller and a nobody surprised everyone. It took him several hours of exciting and often amusing screen-time to prove his compeers were wrong. He is an bank teller when the film opens, but he somehow wangles an invitation to a sporting club for the well-to-do. He falls in love with a beautiful but snobbish girl, with whom he always seems to be quarreling, and he lives at home with a brawling clan of Corbetts who seem to fight with one another as often as with others. When he defeats the club's best and a professional fighter borough in to embarrass him, he finally decides to become famous by fighting. he sets out on the road with his friend, who acts as manager and trainer, and despite a few near setbacks, he wins all his bouts and attracts attention. Coming home to pursue his girl again, he contrives to annoy the Boston Strongboy, mighty John L. Sullivan, who enters bars and claims he can "lick any man in the world". Few believe he can win a bout against Sullivan, but Corbett, dubbed "Gentleman Jim" for his gracious manners and patrician appearance surprises everyone by moving, dancing out of range, and negating the furious Sullivan's power. The film's finest scene perhaps comes when a beaten Sullivan comes to congratulate Corbett. The new champion rises to the moment, tells Sullivan a few years before it might have been different, and shows him nothing but admiration and respect. He gets his girl as a result of his two performances, but by the end of the film, as they visit his s parents, his manager is able to tell the world, "The Corbetts are at it again". The films is attractive and has a consistent style without being flashy. The script was written by veteran Horace McCoy and Vincent Lawrence from the Corbett novel. Sidney Hickox did the cinematography, with period set decorations by Clarence Steensen and art direction by Ted Smith. Heinz Roemheld did the music and Milo Anderson the gowns. The film was ably directed by action-film specialist Raoul Walsh. Flynn also liked working with Walsh but did not care for the other director he worked for most often, Michael Curtiz. Among the cast,were Ward Bond as John L. Sullivan, in one of his best performances lovely Alexis Smith a bit spotty but intelligent as the girl Corbett loves and a very able Errol Flynn as Corbett, a young man he seemed to relish playing--he later said it was his favorite role from the period...Jack Carson was his manager, Alan Hale his charismatic father, John Loder a rich foe, with William Frawley, Minor Watson, Madeleine LeBeau, Rhys Williams, Arthur Shields, Dorothy Vaughn and Mike Mazurki along for the enjoyable proceedings. It is hard to say enough about the logic and light-hearted fun this movie's makers have generated; it is one of the best-liked of all sports biography films, and by my standards one of the most enjoyable as well.

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