Alfred Hitchcock's only screen writing credit follows the story of two aspiring boxers as they slowly work their way to the top of their game. 'One-Round' Jack (Carl Brisson) works in a carnival show, using the gimmick of being able to knock any challengers out in one round to draw the crowds. When onlooker Bob Corby is reluctantly talked into going a round with Jack, he knocks him out, much to Jack's dismay and surprise. Caught between the two fighters is Jack's girlfriend Mabel (Lilian Hall Davis) who takes a liking to Bob, especially as he begins his rise up the boxing ranks. As Jack's frustration and jealousy grows, so does his success. As the two fight their way to the top, the likelihood of a climatic bout between the two protagonists increases with every fight. Ultimately it becomes a mental and physical battle for the love of Mabel.
The meaning of the title is multi-layered - of course referring the boxing ring, but also the arm bracelet that Mabel receives from Bob that comes to represent the everlasting loop that the three lead characters are caught up in. Although relatively little-seen compared to some of the popular boxing movies, Hitchcock's silent has undoubtedly had a great impact of the sport genre, especially on Scorsese's Raging Bull. Hitchcock was fascinated with boxing - the idea of a physical and mental duel between two gladiators, and also with the dirty feel of the arena. Halls would be filled by both smartly-dressed socialites, and the working-class looking for a bit of escapism. The place would be filled with cigarette smoke, sweat and dirt trampled in by the masses. Although this doesn't quite have the cinematic flair of Scorsese's masterpiece, the photography is clearly comparable, and is extremely impressive given its era. This is Hitchcock's early experiment, where he would develop techniques he would come to perfect in his long-list of truly great films. A fascinating film from the man that would become one of the giants of cinema.
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