Friday, April 04, 2014


Dane Clark is a struggling young artist who lets café owner S.Z Sakall put his stuff up on the walls, even though Clark is embarrassed at the crudity of his work. One day Sakall sells one of Clark's pictures to the lovely Alexis Smith (pictured with Clark), visiting from New York City. Clark goes to get it back, but after a brief period of verbal sparring, they wind up taking a moonlight stroll along the beach and he declares his love. The next morning, as Smith waits in Sakall's café for Clark, a slimy looking guy pops in and plays the jukebox, leading Smith to leave and head back to NYC. After some soul-searching, Clark follows and discovers that Smith is unhappily married to bitter, crippled nightclub owner and fight promoter Zachary Scott, a former boxer now confined to a wheelchair, who sent the slimy jukebox guy out to find her. Scott is able to hang onto Smith because of the power he has over her brother (Jeffrey Lynn), a surgeon whose botched operation may have been responsible for Scott's disability. To stay near Smith, Clark, who boxed in the past, agrees to be become Scott's protégé, but during a tussle with one of Scott's thugs, he gets a concussion which could mean dangerous brain damage. Still, Scott insists that Clark fight, hoping that he'll get a blow which might kill him.

I like all three leads (Clark, Smith and Scott) and they're all at pretty close to full strength, so I enjoyed this, even though I am not a fan of boxing movies. To be fair, the boxing scenes take up a small part of the film and the rest is an average noir-tinged romantic triangle melodrama reminiscent of GILDA. The acting is fine and the dialogue a notch above B-melodrama fare. The wonderful Eve Arden lends strong support as a sympathetic neighbor of Clark's. There's a cute club number, "The Guy with the Spanish Drawl" with the chorus "Besame mucho, y'all." Jimmie Dodd, later the host of the original Mickey Mouse Club, is seen briefly as a piano player. [TCM/DVD]

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