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The best sports movie ever made!
It's rare for a film made in the forties to avoid the criticism of being "dated" and while it's true that Robert Rossen's Body and Soul has dated aspects (plenty of overacting, bad fade-outs) it still remains one of the single most photographically stunning films ever made and there's no doubt of its influence, especially on Raging Bull.
As heavy-handed with its storytelling as it is with its moralising, 'Body and Soul' still packs a punch (pun intended and apologised for) thanks to pitch-perfect performances and a formula that works as well today as it did back in 1947. Okay, it's a little saggy around the midriff and the story beats are totally familiar; it's essentially a rags-to-riches story which leads an increasingly craggy pugilist, Charley Davis (John Garfield) to the (staggeringly obvious) realisation that there's a lot more to life than money. It may be over-earnest, but it's well-meaning and has a beating heart; reader, in the end it got to me.
The actors make 'their stock characters sing; Lilli Palmer is a particular standout as Charley's beau, but John Garfield is really good as well (he got an Academy Award nomination for his work here). It's a shame that William Conrad was given the role of Quinn when he would have made the kingpin Roberts into a far more intimidating figure, but hey-ho.
When we finally get to the final fight (beautifully photographed in the ring by the legendary James Wong Howe wearing a pair of roller-skates) it's as rousing a spectacle as a sports-film fan could wish for; not only is it's influence on Scorsese's 'Raging Bull' plain to see, but one of the post-fight bits of business is brazenly swiped - er, homaged - by the original 'Rocky' and re-packaged into one of its most iconic moments... The conclusion is a little pat - it's hard to believe that this situation could be resolved in this manner - but it's also irresistible, with a perfect final line that had me wiping at the corner of my eye; must've got some dust in there or something...
So, a solid drama elevated by top acting, a moody noir atmosphere and one knock-out (sorry) set-piece. Well worth your time.
sure it's the same tired boxing cliches but polonsky's sharp dialogues and garfield's greatest performance made it well worth watching, for me at least. james wong howe wore skates and rolled around the ring shooting the fight scenes with a hand-held camera, creating a level of realism that influenced 'raging bull'
A gritty for it's time Boxing Drama staring John Garfield & it's quiet a well acted for it's time.
This is more or less the story of an uneducated boxer fighting his moral battles more than the physical battles in the ring.
I found the side characters in this story are great & in many cases are more interesting than their leads. It's a little rushed at the end but for the better it's quite an interesting & physiological film.
John Garfield is excellent as Charlie Davis in this drama about corruption in professional boxing and the consequences of our life choices. Abraham Polonsky's script is first class allowing the storyline to develop without unrealistic moralizing from the characters. A must see for noir fans!
Great classic movie. I am glad to learn more about this amazing actor that John Garfield is. I liked the plot, the way people talked during this period, everything.
So much anticipation left me a little disappointed. The Harder They Fall seemed to me a better film overall although I recognise the fact that Body and Soul is the original rag to riches boxer story which influenced all the rest. Not a noir but more a drama I would say, and perhaps that's where I was let down.
John Garfield as a boxer makes this film a must see for any movie buff. It has everything that everyone wants in a movie. John Garfield and Anne Revere are wonderful as always. I enjoyed every single moment..!!!
A look at the corrupt sides of professional boxing. John Garfield plays the corrupted boxer. Fast money, fast women, expensive high rise, a corrupted manager that would make Don King's face light up with glee. "Body And Soul" isn't all that corrupt, Garfield's character has a love intrest, a good friend who is looking out for him and a mother who wishes her son would decide to get an education. Great performances by Garfield, Anne Revere, Joseph Pevney, Lili Palmer, Canada Lee and Lloyd Gough. I gave this a 90 but now am giving this a 60. We've seen this story on screen before people.