7.7/10
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55 user 26 critic

Gentleman Jim (1942)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 14 November 1942 (USA)
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As bareknuckled boxing enters the modern era, brash extrovert Jim Corbett uses new rules and dazzlingly innovative footwork to rise to the top of the top of the boxing world.

Director:

Raoul Walsh

Writers:

Vincent Lawrence (screen play), Horace McCoy (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Errol Flynn ... James J. Corbett
Alexis Smith ... Victoria Ware
Jack Carson ... Walter Lowrie
Alan Hale ... Pat Corbett
John Loder ... Carlton De Witt
William Frawley ... Billy Delaney
Minor Watson ... Buck Ware
Ward Bond ... John L. Sullivan
Madeleine Lebeau ... Anna Held (as Madeleine LeBeau)
Rhys Williams ... Harry Watson
Arthur Shields ... Father Burke
Dorothy Vaughan ... Ma Corbett
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Storyline

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. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der freche Kavalier See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 2/14/44 Screen Guild radio broadcast of "Gentleman Jim" reunited Flynn, Smith, and Bond, but Grant Withers replaced Jack Carson as Walter Lowrie. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Pat Corbett: Do you see that hand?
Harry Corbett: [In unison] Yes.
Mary Corbett: [In unison] Yes.
George Corbett: [In unison] Yes.
Pat Corbett: Well, you're gazin' on the hand that shook the hand of John L. Sullivan!
George Corbett: John L. Sullivan?
Harry Corbett: John L. Sullivan?
Mary Corbett: John Sullivan?
Ma Corbett: [Emphasizing the middle initial] John L. Sullivan!
James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim: Well, what are you planning to do with it?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Summer of '42 (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wearing of the Green
(ca 1798) (uncredited)
Traditional Irish folk tune
In the score during the opening credits and occasionally in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

The First "Modern" Heavyweight Boxing Champion
23 April 2004 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

It is sometimes odd to think how many historical figures who were the subjects of film biographies from 1927 to 1950 were actually still alive in the start of the talking film period. Marie Curie was - is there some long forgotten piece of newsreel film with her in it (from Pathe, naturally) where we see her in a laboratory, and she is talking in French or Polish or even English? George M. Cohan - he actually was in some silent films, but there were two sound films he starred in, one of which (THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT) is in tact, and is worth watching. It turned out the Yankee Doodle Boy could sing and act on celluloid. How about the subject of GENTLEMAN JIM, the great pugilist James J. Corbett?

Well, actually, there are some films with Corbett in them from the early sound period. People forget that he followed his boxing career with a fairly successful stage career (including the lead role in George Bernard Shaw's THE ADMIRABLE BASHFUL, a play about pugilism based on Shaw's novel CASHEL BYRON'S PROFESSION). This is barely touched on in GENTLEMAN JIM, except in one scene where Errol Flynn mentions Shaw's writings. Anyway, Corbett would remain in the vaudeville and legitimate theatre until he died in 1931. And he did appear in one or two early sound films [so did the first African-American heavyweight boxing champ, Jack Johnson].

Actually GENTLEMAN JIM wisely stuck to the rise of Corbett to the heavyweight championship. It also was able to make much humor out of his contentious family and his social pretensions (constantly punctured by Alexis Smith, as the socialite he would like to marry). Supported by an able cast, including William Frawley, Jack Carson, and Alan Hale Sr. the film goes along rapidly, and you never get bored. Raoul Walsh's direction is first rate here. And there are moments of great humor, such as the fat members of the Olympic Club exercising, or the way the Corbetts seem to be preparing for their next fight at the drop of a hat (to which Carson yells "THE CORBETTS ARE AT IT AGAIN!" each time). Some of Walsh's camera tricks are nice too - in a montage showing the rise of Corbett in a series of successful fights, Walsh uses photos of the boxers in a bar that are stills from the next scene of the fight the boxers lose or win.

Corbett was one of the first articulate and well-read men to achieve boxing fame. He also championed the Marquess of Queensberry rules, including boxing gloves. The latter had already achieved acceptance (begrudgingly) from Sullivan, whose defeat of Paddy Kilraine in 1889 was the last great bare-knuckle fight. But the final scene of Sullivan (Ward Bond, possibly in his finest moment on the screen) passing his heavyweight belt to Corbett, no matter how moving it really is, brings to mind one of the real problems of Corbett's victory in 1892. Sullivan, a large man with a heavy drinking problem, was not in tip-top shape when he fought Corbett, who was faster and younger. Bond says he does not know what would have been the result if they had met five years earlier, and Flynn agrees it would be hard to call. We'll never really know. Sullivan dominated the heavyweight fight game from 1881 to 1892. Corbett was champ from 1892 to 1897. One wonders which of the two champs was really the greater boxer.


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