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 protégé 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.
The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"
Did You Know?
According to "Variety," the real Corbett was "self-effacing" and had a "quiet personality.," which is at odds with the brash extrovert that is pictured in the film. 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
If I get lost, I'll send up a rocket.
It wouldn't surprise me.
Music by Stephen Foster
In the score during the riverboat scene See more