- Champion (1949 film)
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Robson Produced by Stanley Kramer Written by Story:
Starring Kirk Douglas
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin Cinematography Franz Planer Editing by Harry W. Gerstad Distributed by United Artists Release date(s) April 9, 1949
Running time 99 minutes Country United States Language English
Champion (1949) is an American film noir drama based on a short story by Ring Lardner. Filmed in black-and-white, it recounts the struggles of boxer "Midge" Kelly fighting his own demons while working to achieve success in the boxing ring. The drama was directed by Mark Robson, with cinematography by Franz Planer. The drama features Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Maxwell, and others.
The film won an Academy Award for Editing and gained five other nominations as well, including a Best Actor for Douglas.
- Kirk Douglas as Michael "Midge" Kelly
- Marilyn Maxwell as Grace Diamond
- Arthur Kennedy as Connie Kelly
- Paul Stewart as Tommy Haley
- Ruth Roman as Emma Bryce
- Lola Albright as Palmer Harris
- Luis Van Rooten as Jerome "Jerry" Harris
- Harry Shannon as Lew Bryce
- John Daheim as Johnny Dunne
When the film was released, Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, believed the drama was not exactly faithful to the original Lardner story, which had a very hard-edge. Still, he gave the boxing drama a positive review, and wrote, "However, Director Mark Robson has covered up story weaknesses with a wealth of pictorial interests and exciting action of a graphic, colorful sort. His scenes in training gymnasiums, managers' offices and, of course, the big fight rings arc strongly atmospheric and physically intense. Except that the fighting is more furious than one can credit, it is virtually all right. As the hero and "Champion," Kirk Douglas does a good, aggressive job, with a slight inclination to over-eagerness at times, which might amuse an old fight fan. Arthur Kennedy is dour as his crippled brother who distrusts the slaughterous sport, and Marilyn Maxwell, Ruth Roman and Lola Albright are attractive as the "champ's" various girls. Paul Stewart is most convincing as a quiet, hard-bitten manager.If one hasn't already seen the recently memorable "Body and Soul" which might have served as a model for "Champion," this is a stinging fight film to see. If one has seen that other, this will look a little pale."
The staff at Variety magazine gave the picture a good review and also noted the difference between the screenplay and the original story. They wrote, "Adapted from a Ring Lardner short story of the same title, Champion is a stark, realistic study of the boxing rackets and the degeneracy of a prizefighter. Fight scenes, under Franz Planer's camera, have realism and impact. Unrelenting pace is set by the opening sequence. Cast, under Mark Robson's tight direction, is fine. Kirk Douglas is the boxer and he makes the character live. Second honors go jointly to Arthur Kennedy, the fighter's crippled brother, and Paul Stewart as the knowing manager."
- Academy Award for Film Editing - (Harry W. Gerstad)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Cinematography - (Franz Planer)
- Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – (Mark Robson)
- Academy Award for Best Actor – (Kirk Douglas)
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – (Arthur Kennedy)
- Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female – (Ruth Roman)
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White – (Franz Planer)
- Academy Award for Original Music Score – (Dimitri Tiomkin)
- Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay – (Carl Foreman)
- WGA for Best Written American Drama – (Carl Foreman)
- ^ Champion at the Internet Movie Database.
- ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "Kirk Douglas Plays the Hero in 'Champion,' Film of Ring Lardner's Fight Story," April 11, 1949. Last accessed: December 30, 2007.
- ^ Variety. Film review, April 11, 1949. Last accessed: December 30, 2007.
- ^ Champion at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: November 26, 2009.
- Champion at the Internet Movie Database
- Champion at the TCM Movie Database
- Champion film clip at You Tube
Films directed by Mark Robson 1940s 1950sEdge of Doom (1950) • Bright Victory (1951) • I Want You (1951) • Return to Paradise (1953) • Hell Below Zero (1954) • Phffft! (1954) • The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) • A Prize of Gold (1955) • Trial (1955) • The Harder They Fall (1956) • The Little Hut (1957) • Peyton Place (1957) • The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) 1960s 1970s
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