In his second film since coming back from war service MGM thought that a remake of the Robert Taylor classic from 1938 The Crowd Roars would be perfectly suited for Mickey Rooney. With a little post war updating it was in fact a perfect film for him now entitled Killer McCoy.
As the ambitious young prizefighter Mickey Rooney is perfectly cast in the role. Although the role had to be taken down a few pegs in weight division, I believe Robert Taylor was a middleweight in the first film, given Rooney's size and build he's now a lightweight. But not in acting talent by any means.
As in the first film Rooney's Achilles heel is his father, a lovable drunk loafer who has a nasty habit of getting into bets involving slow horses. That puts Rooney in a vulnerable spot given his rising career as a boxer. Taking over from Frank Morgan who was great in the role in The Crowd Roars is James Dunn, equally as good.
In fact playing just such a part two years earlier had earned Dunn a Best Supporting Actor for A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Sad to say that Dunn was playing a version of himself. At the time he was cast in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Dunn's drinking had rendered nearly unemployable. That Oscar gave his career a resuscitation, but Dunn would do mostly television after this role.
Rooney's love interest and also well cast as the sheltered daughter of gambler Brian Donlevy is Ann Blyth. They did work well together, too bad they didn't do a few more films. Also Sam Levene as Rooney's trainer gives a good performance as well.
Killer McCoy was a good part for Rooney. Sad to say in his next two films he was miscast and MGM dropped him. They should have given more material like Killer McCoy.
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