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Champion (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 20 May 1949 (USA)
Boxer Midge Kelly rises to fame...mainly by stepping on other people.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Carl Foreman (screenplay), Ring Lardner (story "Champion")
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... Midge
Marilyn Maxwell ... Grace
Arthur Kennedy ... Connie
Paul Stewart ... Haley
Ruth Roman ... Emma
Lola Albright ... Palmer
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... Harris
Harry Shannon ... Lew
John Daheim John Daheim ... Dunne (as John Day)
Ralph Sanford ... Hammond
Esther Howard ... Mrs. Kelly
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Storyline

Midge Kelly, hitchhiking west with lame brother Connie, is hustled unprepared into a pro boxing match. Though he's severely beaten, manager Tommy Haley finds him promising. Arrived in California, Midge and Connie find nothing but a menial job from which Midge gets relief by seducing Emma, a lovely young waitress. One shotgun marriage later, ambitious Midge falls back on the only option he knows: boxing. Seduced by cheering crowds, money, and a succession of blondes, Midge becomes more and more of a hero in public...and a heel in private. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boxing | boxer | gym | waitress | promoter | See All (34) »

Taglines:

Fighting or loving, he was the... CHAMPION See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Champion See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Shot in 23 days for $600,000. See more »

Goofs

Midge mangles the sculpture that Palmer has made of him, twisting the head out of alignment. In next shot, the head of statue is back in its original location. See more »

Quotes

Harris: [as he and Midge look at the New York skyline from the window of Harris' high-rise office] Wonderful view, isn't it? The capitol of the whole world. It's all yours if you want it. People look very small down there, don't they? You know, there are only two kinds of people in this world. The big and the little. It's very seldom anyone gets the chance to decide for himself which he's going to be.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Redbelt: Q&A with David Mamet (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Never Be It Said
By Dimitri Tiomkin and Goldie Goldmark (as "Goldie" Goldmark)
Sung by Polly Bergen (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great fight film
30 December 2003 | by sapblattSee all my reviews

Mark Robson's (`Bridges at Toko-Ri' `Von Ryan's Express' `Earthquake') 1949 fight film `Champion' is one of the best depictions ever filmed of the fight game. This film is more than just a movie about a boxer, or just another rags to riches/American dream story, but rather a deep character study of man driven to succeed at any cost.

The man is Midge Kelly played brilliantly by Kirk Douglas. Midge's trek from train hopping hobo to dishwasher to prize fighting champion is realistically portrayed in a style that is not unlike Kirk's son Michael's portrayal of Wall Street businessman Gordon Gekko in `Wall Street.' Family, friends, lovers all better steer clear of Midge as nothing is going to intimidate or stop him.

Two other actors are very worthy of mention here; Arthur Kennedy and Paul Stewart. The able Kennedy (`Cheyenne Autumn' `Lawrence of Arabia' `Nevada Smith') plays Midge's honest and idealistic brother, Connie. His role in `Champion' earned him one of his five Oscar nominations. Paul Stewart (`12 O'clock High' `Kiss Me Deadly' `The Joe Louis Story') does a great job of depicting Midge's first manager, Tommy Haley. Besides these two and Douglas I found most of the acting to be typical of the era, overdone.

Lastly, it should be noted that this film one won Oscar; the 1949 award for editing went to editor Harry Gerstad (who also won for `High Noon.') The brilliantly filmed fight scenes are cut in a manner that adds a lot of impact to what is going on in the ring and in the arena. It is safe to say that Martin Scorsese and his editor, Thelma Schoonmaker had seen this film a number of times and borrowed from Gerstad's fight scene editing techniques in `Raging Bull,' which is the one boxing film I would rate higher than `Champion.' Forget Rocky Balboa…remember Midge Kelly and Jake LaMotta.


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