7.4/10
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55 user 31 critic

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")
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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:

kiss by kiss... blow by blow... 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:

De kampioen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1949
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

Director Mark Robson reused variation of Midge's workout montage sequence nearly 20 years later for Neely's (Patty Duke) career montage in Valley of the Dolls. 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

Connie: [to Midge] Why did you do it? Because you were bored? Did you have to prove to yourself you're really the champion? You stink! You stink from corruption! You're worse than a murderer. You're a grave robber!
[Midge knocks him down]
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in Kirk Douglas: Before I Forget (2009) 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

 
A Tour-de-force acting of Douglas as boxer desperately fights his way to the success.
29 April 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A selfish boxer (Kirk Douglas in the title role playing one of his earliest characters as main star) alienates the people around him , his captivating wife (Ruth Roman as the victimized spouse), his loving brother (a restrained Arthur Kennedy) ,trainer (a moderate Paul Stewart) and other women (Marilyn Maxwell, Lola Albright).

This interesting movie based on a screenplay by prestigious Carl Foreman is a noir drama about boxing world with an ambitious starring well personified by Kirk Douglas. The violent boxing images shocked audiences of the 40s and still retains quite power nowadays. It's a grueling boxing tale with tough realism full of face-blistering, punch, knocks until ¨Raging Bull¨ surpassed it years later. Top-notch acting by Kirk Douglas as merciless, ruthless boxer in his usual hard-driving style and winning a deservedly best actor Academy Award nomination. Dark cinematography in black and white plenty of of lights and shades by Franz Planer. Atmospheric musical score by the classic Dimitri Tiomkin.

The motion picture is well realized by Mark Robson. In the early 40s Robson was much involved with the low-budget terror unit in charge of producer Val Lewton , for whom made ¨Seventh victim¨, ¨The ghost ship¨, and ¨Island of the dead¨. In the late 1940s Robson joined Stanley Kramer's independent company and directed his biggest commercial hit to date with ¨The champion¨. Years later Robson made another good film about corruption in boxing world titled ¨The harder they fall¨ with Humphrey Bogart. In the late 1960s, his work did decline . His last movie was a jinx one titled ¨Avalancha express¨. Robson and his main star, Robert Shaw, died suddenly from heart attacks. Rating : Above average, well worth seeing. This is certainly one of the best movies ever made about boxing world


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