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Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy "Champ" Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there's nothing Andy wouldn't do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda's rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda's son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink's place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion.Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Only someone with ice water in their veins could fail to be moved
The central relationship of the adoring street-wise kid (Cooper) and his devoted, boozing, gambling ex-champ Dad (Beery) is astonishing. We are observing behavior here, not acting. Cooper gives the best child performance I've ever seen and Beery is utterly human, flawed and unforgettable.
This film is full of terrific moments - comedy and heartbreak. The friendship between Cooper and his black pal is beautifully color-blind. When Cooper states, "He's colored," it's with a child's open, untainted honesty. I find King Vidor's films to always resonate with humanity and compassion. He was one of our greatest filmmakers as Frances Marion was one of our greatest screenwriters.
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