Gentleman Jim (1942)
Maybe Errol Flynn was never the war hero that he often played, but he was a capable boxer, and Gentleman Jim makes full use of this skill. Flynn stars as Jim Corbett, the 19th-century American pugilist who introduced "scientific" methods to bare-knuckle boxing. Originally an office clerk, Corbett is introduced to the then-illegal sport of fighting when one of the bank executives sponsors the young man's training at the Olympic Club. His arrogance wins Corbett a few enemies, including high-born lady Victoria Ware (Alexis Smith), whose dislike turns to casual affection when she realizes that Corbett is a sincere young fellow who can back up his boasts. What "Gentleman Jim" desires most in life is a match with reigning heavyweight champ John L. Sullivan (Ward Bond). Corbett and Sullivan finally meet in a bout governed by those new Marquis of Queensbury rules that Corbett has helped popularize. Twenty-one epoch-making rounds later, Corbett emerges victorious. At the victory celebration, Sullivan and Corbett graciously exchange mutual words of respect and affection. At this point, Corbett has totally won over the lovely Victoria -- but hasn't quite convinced his brawling brothers that "scientific" boxing is the wave of the future, and the film ends with a typical Raoul Walsh-directed battle royal. More faithful to the facts than most Errol Flynn biopics (but still with enough poetic license to drive historical purists up a wall), Gentleman Jim is broad, boisterous entertainment. Though it looks expensive, the film was made under Warner Bros.' standard pinchpenny restrictions; if you look closely at that moored ship where Corbett has one of his first professional fights, you'll notice that it's a leftover set from the 1940 Errol Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk. … More
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Critic Reviews for Gentleman Jim
The most kinetic of period pieces, the least pious of biopics, Walsh's Grand Illusion, an elegy for men trying to hang on to the notion of blood sports as games of honor
Walsh trusts his viewers to value ability and wit over humility and pathos, resulting in one of the most roundly entertaining of all sports films.
One of the most lovable, funny and enthusiastic of all film biographies.
...has all the exuberance, excitement, romance, and high good humor that is missing in many of today's so-called inspirational sports films.
Romanticized Jim Corbett boxing fable; Flynn is still fun to watch.
Superior -- if largely fact-free -- biopic with Flynn as the character should have been rather than as he was.
Audience Reviews for Gentleman Jim
Back in the day the Irish were as lovingly mythologized as the Brits in Hollywood movies, and this Roaul Walsh film is no exception, as Errol Flynn, in fine form, plays the social climbing upstart of a man who took boxing from brawling to an art form. Warner Bros. was in its heyday and this brash, impertinent, raucous work exults in its vigor. Ward Bond too shines in one of his better roles as the great John L. Sullivan.More
A pretty good boxing movie, it's set in the past, in England (I think). I saw it on TV, and it looked good enough, but I got kinda bored with it in some scenes.More
Errol has one of his best roles here. How much is truth who knows but its well played and Alexis Smith is incredibly lovely.More
A Warner Brothers classic, that richly deserves a place among the pantheon of great boxing films, it tells the true-life story of James J. "Gentlemen Jim" Corbett, the colorful Irish-American boxer who became the first heavyweight champion of the world, under the new Marquis of Queensberry rules. The story follows Corbett played by Errol Flynn who delivers one of the finest and most charismatic performances of his career, as a ambitious bank clerk in San Francisco, who thru chance will fight the ex-boxing champion of England and win. That will eventually lead to a fearsome fight with the heavyweight champion of the world, the great John L. Sullivan a legendary ring king played by Ward Bond in brilliant larger-than-life performance which is one of the finest moments in his distinguished career. The film is also a fascinating look at the early days of boxing as a outlaw sport, with some exciting and realistic fight sequences, which well-staged and are highly effective. Flynn was actually an accomplished boxer and you can see it was him doing all of his stunts and no doubles, this role was Errol Flynn's favorite, he trained rigorously to master Corbett's gliding footwork, his deft jabbing and lighting left-hooking that were all Corbett trademarks. Magnificent supporting performances from Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, William Frawley, Minor Watson, and John Loder. Superlative direction by Raoul Walsh and impressive production values, convincingly recreating San Francisco circa 1887. A Knockout entertainment. Highly Recommended.More
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