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Iron Man (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Sport | 20 September 1951 (USA)
An ambitious coal miner is talked into becoming a boxer by his gambler brother.

Director:

Joseph Pevney

Writers:

W.R. Burnett (novel), George Zuckerman | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeff Chandler ... Coke Mason
Evelyn Keyes ... Rose Warren Mason
Stephen McNally ... George Mason
Rock Hudson ... Tommy 'Speed' O'Keefe aka Kosco
Joyce Holden ... 'Tiny' Ford - Photographer
Jim Backus ... Max Watkins
James Arness ... Alex Mallick (as Jim Arness)
Steve Martin Steve Martin ... Joe Savella
George Baxter ... Herb Riley
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Storyline

In Coaltown, Pennsylvania, miner Coke Mason hopes to better himself, buy a radio store, and marry Rose Warren. His gambler brother George thinks Coke can be more successful as a boxer, knowing that when he fights he's consumed with a murderous rage that makes him an "iron man." Seeing dollar signs in Rose's eyes, Coke reluctantly agrees, though he's fearful of the "killer instinct" that makes him a knockout success in the ring...and brings him the booing hatred of the fans. Will Coke throw off his personal demon before he kills someone? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's all man in the ring -- or anywhere!

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atsalenios andras See more »

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

In their championship bout that climaxes the movie, Jeff Chandler is introduced at 212 pounds, Rock Hudson at 198 pounds. See more »

Quotes

Max Watkins: Rose, what brings you to New York?
Rose Warren: I just wanted to look at you. I wanted to see how low a sportswriter can get.
See more »

Connections

Version of Iron Man (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fourth-billed Rock Hudson breaks away from the pack in obscure, worthy fight flick
8 August 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Can it be merely coincidence, even in the relative innocence of 1951, that the boxers in Iron Man go by the names of Coke and Speed? (The fact that they're played by Jeff Chandler and Rock Hudson, whom viewers today will identify as, respectively, a cross-dresser and a gay man, adds another latter-day dimension to their sweat-lubricated clinches.) In any case, their stimulating monikers do no injustice to the story – a jacked-up, strung-out fight movie that's a worthy entry in that oddly distinguished, brutal genre.

It starts in Coaltown, Pennsylvania, a mining community where the only excitement is wondering when the shafts will cave in. When Chandler takes on a bully and thoroughly thrashes him, his brother (Steve McNally) and girl (Evelyn Keyes) see a glamorous future and fast money for him – and for them. The only catch is that Chandler isn't a born boxer: He's clumsy and gets pummeled. But when he's hurt (and then jeered at), he falls into blind, murderous rages, going after his opponents by fair means or foul. He wins purses and titles but not the hearts of the fans – they don't like dirty fighters, and come only in hopes of seeing him get his comeuppance. But they keep coming, and soon Chandler's poised for the heavyweight title.

The story, ably directed by Joseph Pevney, follows a familiar course: The fallings-out with his brother and his wife, the big-time sportswriter who becomes his manager (Jim Backus), the fixed fight, the fallacious sense of invincibility. And the ending is a little too pat and feel-good. But it's one of Chandler's best roles (he's as good as Kirk Douglas in The Champion, if not so convincing as Robert Ryan in The Set-Up, both of two years earlier). Evelyn Keyes has but two things to do: First egg him on, then beg him to stop, but she's, as always, distinctive. (She gets slugged by him, too.)

Hudson's another case entirely. In the part of the loyal sparring-partner who turns into the challenger, he's confined to playing L'il Abner – a good-natured but dim-witted lout. But in the final grudge-match, he reverts to the sheer, feral physicality of which he was capable but rarely called upon to display – and, in its final scene, he all but steals the movie away from Chandler. He's the breakout star.


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