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The Fighting Champ

USA 1932
produced by
Trem Carr for Monogram
directed by John P. McCarthy
starring Bob Steele, Arletta Duncan, Kit Guard, George Chesebro, Charles King, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Henry Roquemore, Lafe McKee, Frank Ball
written by Wellyn Totman, cinematography by Archie Stout

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jock (Charles King), foreman of Fred Mullins' (Frank Ball) is supposed to fight fighting champ Spike Sullivan (Kit Guard) in a prizefight, but then Jock is beaten down by drifter Brick Loren (Bob Steele), and all of a sudden, Fred Mullins decides to let Brick fight the champ instead, to which Brick reluctantly agrees, at least in part thanks to Mullins lovely niece Jean (Arletta Duncan).

But the champ is actually washed out, a fighter way past his prime, so his manager Nifty Harmon (George Chesebro) tries to bribe first Jock to lose the fight (who even agrees to it, even though he won't even be fighting, but Harmon doesn't know that yet), then, when he learns that Brick is actually Spike's opponent, he tries to bribe him into losing as well ... but Brick refuses.

Still, Jock tells everyone that Brick accepted the bribe, and those who have placed their bets on Brick, Mullins included, now threaten to shoot him should he throw the fight. And on the day of the fight, Jock poisons Brick's coffee ...

Even before the fight starts, Brick complains about pains in his stomach, but he dares not not to fight, and Jock suggests his pains are just an alibi. During the fight, Brick gets weaker by the minute, and in the third round, just as Jock has predicted, he breaks down and is counted out. All the townsfolks who placed their money on Brick are furious and want to lynch him, and it takes the Sheriff (Lafe McKee) to at least get him to a doctor. Meanwhile Jock knocks out Nifty Harmon and steals all the betting money Harmon has won, then he tries to get away with it, but Brick and Spike follow in hot pursuit, eventually stop him, and Jock and Brick get into a fistfight, which Brick wins knocking Jock out - but when the townsfolks who have followed them see this, they are more than ever convinced that Brick actually threw the fight, and they want to tar and feather both Brick and Spike ... until Pete (Gabby Hayes), Brick's boxing coach, arrives at the scene with the poisoned coffee, proving Brick's innocence for good. And when nifty Harmon's money is found on Jock, he is proven the villain of the story ...

 

Many of the early talkie Monogram Westerns starring Bob Steele and later John Wayne featured unusual stories and storyelements, and this one is no exception, being a boxing film as much as a Western, and featuring more fistfights than shoot-outs. Now admittedly, the film is neither Raging Bull nor, let's say, Stagecoach, to pick a classic of each genre, but it's an hour of good, well-paced entertainment, and it's definitely more fun than the Rocky series.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD