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Author Topic: Champion (1949)  (Read 2389 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: December 05, 2011, 04:53:24 PM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041239/

Champion (1949) 8.5/10

An early lead performance by Kirk Douglas.

Cast (courtesy of imdb)


Kirk Douglas    ...   Midge Kelly
    Marilyn Maxwell    ...   Grace Diamond
    Arthur Kennedy    ...   Connie Kelly
    Paul Stewart    ...   Tommy Haley
    Ruth Roman    ...   Emma Bruce
    Lola Albright    ...   Mrs. Harris aka Palmer
    Luis Van Rooten    ...   Jerome Harris
    Harry Shannon    ...   Lew Bryce
    John Daheim    ...   Dunne (as John Day)
    Ralph Sanford    ...   Hammond - Kansas City fight organizer
    Esther Howard    ...   Mrs. Kelly

According to the notes on the dvd's special features: Douglas, who was not then a big leading actor, was offered $50,000 for a lead in a major production of a movie from a major studio (I forget the name). Instead, he decided to take the role in Champion -- which was done on a shoestring budget, and for which he only got $15,000 in deferred compensation. But this role propelled him to stardom, while the other movie flopped.


The dvd's image quality is simply awful.  The film is by Republic Pictures and dvd distributed by Artisan DVD; but the opening credit is to the UCLA FILM ARCHIVE , so perhaps it was an old film they had lying around. This is a damn good movie, and it deserves a good dvd release.

Very solid supporting performances by Arthur Kennedy and the always-lovely Ruth Roman. Paul Stewart was cast so perfectly and looks so much the part of a boxing trainer.

UPDATE: cj reminds me below that I didn't write a plot synopsis for the movie, so here it is:
PLOT SYNOPSIS: Midge Kelly (Douglas) rises from the depths of poverty to become a great boxer. But fame and success come many problems, including one's relationships with those people who were in his life before he achieved success.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 12:54:36 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 01:36:38 AM »

which was done on a shoestring budget, and for which he only got $15,000 in deferred compensation. But this role propelled him to stardom,

...that reminds me of something...

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cigar joe
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 04:15:32 AM »

Well tell us a bit about the story, the setting, by what you told me so far all I know is your opinion about  Douglas's performance.  We know nothing about the rest of the film as it is now  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 11:10:11 AM »

Well tell us a bit about the story, the setting, by what you told me so far all I know is your opinion about  Douglas's performance.  We know nothing about the rest of the film as it is now  Roll Eyes

haha I guess that is cuz personally, I hate knowing ANYTHING about a movie's plot before I watch it, cuz even the most careful plot synopsis almost invariably gives away the first half of the film, at least. So since I never read a plot synopsis before I watch the film, I generally don't write a plot synopsis either... But since you insist, I'll do so from now on; (but my synopses will therefore be very broad and not give away anything  Wink)

SYNOPSIS: Midge Kelly (Douglas) rises from the depths of poverty to become a great boxer. But of course, with fame and success come many potential problems, including one's relationships with those people in his life before he achieved success. The story is told in a single flashback, as Kelly enters the ring for a championship bout.


-- The boxing sequences here are probably the most realistic I have ever seen in any movie.

-- This dvd is not available on Netflix (and the movie is unavailable on iTunes either), but you can buy the dvd pretty cheap (I just checked eBay, and used dvd's are going for like 6 bucks). IMO it is definitely worth it Afro

-- Two notes on the dvd: a) one side is black and white, the other side is color. Needless to say, I did not watch the colorized version. I can't believe they would actually put a colorized version as a b side to the dvd!

b) the dvd's aspect ratio is 4:3. On the dvd case it says that the picture has been modified from its original version and formatted to fit the screen, but i am pretty sure that's wrong; I believe the movie was originally in 4:3, and therefore it is not "modified" at all. They probably just write that standard "modified" note on all movies that are in 4:3. The reason I believe that the 4:3 aspect ratio is indeed the original aspect ratio, is cuz  I don't think there were many movies in 1949 that were made in widescreen. (And for whatever it's worth, imdb says the aspect ratio is 4:3, though I know that doesn't mean jack).

the dvd is distributed by Artisan dvd (which I don't think i have ever heard of; it's probably some crappy company, hence the dumb decision to include a colorized version, the note that (I presume is wrong) saying the film's aspect ratio has been modified, and the crappy transfer.

But this is a really awesome movie. The crappy picture quality is just about the only criticism I have  Afro


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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 01:43:53 PM »

It surely is 1,37:1.

The widescreen era did not start before 1953 with The Robe. (there were a few exceptions in the early 30s, at least one 70 mm film was The Big Trail)

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cigar joe
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 04:15:49 PM »

Any commentary on the DVD?

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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 05:13:22 PM »

Any commentary on the DVD?

No. There's only one special feature, called "Production Notes," which is a very brief history about the making of the movie.


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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2011, 03:57:09 PM »

OK watched this courtesy of d&d. It was entertaining, Douglas is believable as the up from poverty fighter, Arthur Kennedy plays his crippled brother, Paul Stewart his trainer, and his three femme fatales Ruth Roman, Marilyn Maxwell, and Lola Albright are all top notch. Its a Stanley Kramer production but its not an obvious hit you over the head message film. I'll give it a 7/10 even though the DVD is like mentioned above a poor quality transfer.

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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2014, 07:15:49 AM »

looking through Amazon, I see that the movie was released on BRD a little over a year ago by Olive Films http://goo.gl/oVw1Om

Beaver http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare5/champion.htm

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