Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Marilyn Maxwell, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman
Director: Mark Robson
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts
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Hard hitting early pugilist flick
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting that right around the same time--the late 40s--three different films were all released with basically the same theme and plot: The Set-Up (w. Robert Ryan); Champion (w. Kirk Douglas); and Body and Soul (w. John Garfield). Ryan's film is a very good piece of work while the Garfield film is, by today's standards, heavy-handed, thus dated. But the Kirk Douglas film is, in fact, the Champion.The boxing scenes are realistic--in spite of Douglas' recent nose job, made during filming, preventing any of his sparring partners to hit anywhere near his schnozz. But more than anything else, it's Douglas' tremendous charisma and energy that raise this film above the norm. Douglas, as did Garfield in the earlier Body and Soul, plays a guy mired in poverty who sees boxing as a quick way out of the hole and, once initially successful, wants nothing but more: both money and success. And nothing standing in his way will prevent him from getting what he wants. But while Garfield's portrayal of selfishness is forced and, as well, entrenched in cliched dialogue, both Douglas' acting and the far more intelligent script make Midge Kelly's (Douglas) relentless quest for power tremendously believable.Arthur Kennedy is Connie, Midge's brother whose leg was busted when he was a kid and now walks with a cane. The three--yep, count 'em, three--women in Midge's life add a lot of juice to the film and a nice touch is the casting of a brunette who's Midge's girl when he's poor and two blondes when he's rich and successful. Back in them days, blondes were IT. (Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield carried on the tradition).Champion gives you a great view of life in the late 40s as well. It's also interesting that the director, Mark Robson, was part of the Val Lewton school of horror directors (which also included Robert Wise), so makes excellent use with his cinematographer of light and shadow. This is not exactly a film noir, but does have several noirish traits--camera lighting, and thematic corruption and desperation.This is more a precursor to Raging Bull than Rocky; the latter character is always good, while DeNiro's character is akin to Midge Kelly--rising quickly from a life in the streets to attain fame and fortune, even if toes get stepped on and hearts gets smashed to pieces (Rocky would never do stuff like that).A strong piece of cinema; recommended."
Rosemary West (amazon@rosemarywest. | Los Angeles | 12/23/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kirk Douglas plays an emotionally bankrupt man driven by poverty and anger to become a champion prizefighter. His energy and confidence attract love and loyalty from people who contribute to his success but become hurt and disillusioned by his ingratitude and betrayal. The plot is fairly simple, but the film holds interest through its portrayal of a man devoid of self-understanding, whose ambition can never truly be satisfied despite his apparent success. The most intense scenes are in the boxing ring, where no amount of punishment can stop him."
Another great Kirk performance
nodice | Manchester, Ga United States | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"4.5 stars. I heard so much about this film for so long, so I finally sat down and watched it. At first I didn't think I was going to like it, because the lighting bothered me. But as the film progressed, the lighting fit. Douglas plays an ambitious boxer in the 1940s who like most celebrities get caught up and those around him are the first to get burned. I agree with the assessment that this film is like a Greek tragedy. i kept wanting for Kelly to snap out of it, but alas...
This movie a classic for a reason and if you haven't seen it, you need to do yourself a favor and check it out."
Not so much a Noir, more a greek tragedy
The Queen of Noirs | Santa Clara, CA USA | 02/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kirk Douglas as the classic greek tragic figure: a hero with a fatal flaw.
Arthur Kennedy and Kirk Douglas play down-on-their-luck brothers (Connie and Midge Kelly, respectively) travelling west to take possession of their part ownership of a restaurant. When they arrive they discover that they had been scammed. Along the way out to the restaurant, Midge made a little money at a boxing exhibition where he caught the eye of a promotor. Midge and Connie work for a while at the restaurant, but Midge's single-minded pursuit of a better life and the respect he feels he deserves causes him to abandon his newly minted wife and head out to seek his fortune in the boxing ring. Midge is a single-minded character like none you've ever seen. This single-mindedness drags him down, extinguishing his humanity as he climbs his way upward. As with most tragic heroes, he finally sacrifices himself when he allows his misdeeds to finally engulf him.
Kirk is fabulous. The fight scenes are convincing and well filmed. The story hops along. This movie represents Arthur Kennedy's most accessible performance as the humane, crippled brother representing the greek chorus reminding the main character of his morality. This is an excellent movie."