In 1848 NYC, a Frenchwoman visits exiled former French Marshal Thevenet to ask for his financial help in behalf of his French grandson but Thevenet's house staff schemes to kill him and take his fortune.
Joe Bonaparte's father wants him to pursue his musical talent; but Joe wants to be a boxer. Persuading near-bankrupt manager Tom Moody to give him a chance, Joe quickly rises in his new profession. When he has second thoughts Moody's girl Lorna uses feminine wiles to keep him boxing. But when tough gangster Eddie Fuseli wants to "buy a piece" of Joe, Lorna herself begins to have second thoughts...for that and other reasons. Is it too late?Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
William Holden was considered not to be up to the role in the film by the studio; however, Barbara Stanwyck urged producers to keep him in the picture, and succeeded. In 1978, at the The 50th Annual Academy Awards (1978), before starting the presentation of the sound award, Holden publicly thanked Stanwyck, who was his co-presenter, for what she did."Oh Bill!" she sighed, choking up with tears. See more »
When Tom, Lorna and Joe leave Tom's office in the first scene, they leave the office door open. The office door gets closed in all the rest of the scenes in the film. See more »
Notable for being William Holden's debut (he was just 21 and looks almost like a schoolboy!), this dated melodrama was adapted from a popular play by Clifford Odets dealing with a young man conflicted about which path to take in his life: a respected artistic career playing the violin and the more alluring celebrity (which also reaps instant monetary rewards) as a prizefighter. His Italian immigrant father (Lee J. Cobb, whose mannered performance has been especially criticized) obviously wants the boy to follow his musical instincts, but the pull of the ring is too great more so because through it he meets and falls for Barbara Stanwyck, actually his manager (Adolphe Menjou)'s fiancée. Though initially acting under the latter's instructions, she eventually tries to dissuade him from fighting, particularly when gangster Joseph Calleia (another fine showcase for the Maltese character actor) takes Holden under his wing. The climax sees the hero winning the championship bout but at the cost of his black opponent's life and his own left hand; with the help of Stanwyck (realizing she really loves the boxer, Menjou relinquishes her) the "Golden Boy" stands up to his new boss interestingly, Calleia lets him off rather too easily here when compared to similar films of later vintage! The film is pretty good (with equally solid support from Sam Levene as Holden's struggling cab driver brother-in-law) though betraying its stage origins by relegating the boxing matches to only a brief montage until the not very imaginatively handled finale; in hindsight, it's curious to find this cinematically lacking given the involvement of Mamoulian and his reputation as one of the most creative directors of the early Talkie era!
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