Sport | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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Cut out of boxer John . L. Sullivan, first heavy-weight champion of the world. He is replaced by a cut-out photo of James .J. Corbett, who knocked out Sullivan. A man is looking into an old hand-cranked flick-film machine. As the man turns the handle the shot fades to reveal the internal workings of the machine and the photos of Corbett falling into place. The actual film is shown, with Corbett fighting an exhibition boutwith Peter Corderay. There is a referee in the ring, and the trainers can be seen watching from the other side of the ropes. Corbett wears a bizarre style protector covering his genitals. The hand is shown cranking the handle before returning to Corbett and his opponent almost wrestling. According to the commentator the film dates from the late 1890s and shows a laughing Corbett in his prime. next is a cut-out of British born Bob Fitzsimmons, Corbett's conqueror. Fitz held the crown for just one fight before losing to James. J. Jeffries, whose cut-out appears next. We are then shown Jeffries at the age of 45, outdoors in a suit, shirt, tie, and hat, stroking the back of a bull, in 1919. This cuts to a shot of Jeffries in 1945, wearing shirt, trousers, and hat, painting a poster on a wall in his role as a boxing promoter, cigar in mouth. He is then shown, aged 70, by now bald, coaching two young schoolboys who are boxing each other, watched by five other young boys. We are then shown Jeffries tending his garden in warm Californian sunshine. With cigar in mouth, he bends to uproot a carrot. He is then shown with his arms full of pumpkins, melons, and leeks.
Next we are shown a cut-out of Marvin Hart, who claimed the title after beating Jack Root. next is a cut-out of Tommy Burns, who defeated Hart. This is followed by film of Jack Johnson, the coloured conqueror of Burns, dressed in white hat and shirt, pin-stripe suit, waistcoat and bow-tie. Johnson, who defeated both Burns and Jeffries, grins at the camera in a head-on shot. Johnson is then shown shadow boxing indoors in a training ring watched by a number of spectators, mainly coloured. Johnson sports matching vest and shorts. We then see Johnson seated at the wheel of a car as it moves off. We are then shown action of six foot seven inch Jess Willard, who beat Johnson. Willard is shown shadow boxing outdoors in black leotard top and leggings. Standing onlookers on the dusty surface wear either flat caps or boaters. Willard is wiped down by a man with a towel, probably his trainer or manager. Willard's subsequent conqueror, Jack Dempsey, is shown in shorts and boxing gloves standing outdoors in front of a wooden porch. He smiles as the camera closes in for a head and torso shot. He then proceeds to flex his arm and shoulder muscles for the benefit of the camera. He is then shown shadow boxing in a makeshift ring surrounded by onlookers, mostly men, many in boaters. As he goes through his paces using a pulley, then a punchbag, we can see an American soldier, in uniform and puttees, watching. Dempsey is then shown outdoors in a ring with a sparring partner, eagerly watched by a shirt sleeved crowd. His whirlwind style was typical of the way he defeated Willard. He is then towelled down by a trainer.
Action cuts to a crowded street in Jersey City on 2 July 1921. We see children around a sandwich stall laughing at the camera. Men pack the sidewalks on the occasion of the Jack Dempsey and George Carpentier fight. A group look into the camera smiling and laughing. Fans buy bottles of beer from behind wooden trestle tables at boxing's first million dollar gate. Fans are shown entering the 20/40 dollarsection of the arena. The camera then shows the seated crowd over the perimeter wall. Eighty thousand people cram into Boyle's Thirty Acres. We get a long shot of the ring in the midst of a sea of fans. Dempsey and Carpentier can be seen in their corners on stools between rounds. Dempsey stops the Frenchman in four rounds. A large crowd of school children run down the street towards a car which contains Dempsey. In a suit and boater Dempsey struggles to get through the crowd as he leaves the car. He is then shown on an outdoor platform receiving a bouquet and a small trophy from a girl and boy. He then addresses the crowd massed below. We then see him sitting in a chair with two young boys in each arm, on his lap. This is followed by a young boy in a sailor suit and boxing gloves, playfully sparring with Dempsey, also in gloves, on a front lawn watched by a young girl and another man. Dempsey feigns a knockout and the other man counts him out. Dempsey is shown in the mid-1920sin Hollywood, applying make-up to his eyes in front of a mirror. We see him in his dressing gown struggling with three other men. A slapstick punch-up then ensues. Back in New York, Dempsey and his new movie bride, Estelle Taylor, pose for the camera. Dempsey in light-coloured pin-striped suit, Taylor in dark coat, hat, and string of pearls. He waves his boater in the direction of the camera. We next see Dempsey outdoors in the ring clowning with a sparring partner, knocking him through the ropes.
In his swimming trunks we next see Dempsey under a number of schoolboys who try to hold him down. He gets up and throws them all to the ground. The camera then shows a head and shoulders shot of Dempsey at 24, and a challenger for the world title. This is followed by a shot of him at 27 and the champion, stretching his arms for the camera. Then a sweaty 31 year old, having been beaten by Gene Tunney, then at 32 in headgear and gloves, having lost to Tunney for a second time. At 36 he is shown in training attempting a comeback, being disturbed by a pressman. Then an outdoor shot of him at 49 shaking the hand of his conqueror Tunney. Lastly a picture of him at 55, in suit and tie.
Next up is French challenger George Carpentier, aboard ship waving his hat towards the crowd. A smiling Carpentier is shown disembarking from the ship. Fans surround his taxi as a mounted policeman tries to keep them back. He is then shown outdoors with a number of young ladies, dancing with one of them. Cutting to him in boxing gloves sparring with one of the young women, also in gloves. She playfully knocks him to the ground, while another lady counts him out. Action switches to a shot of Gene Tunney, Dempsey's conqueror, sitting outdoors in a rocking chair reading a book. He is then shown milking a cow with two other men. He then appears road running with four others along a farm road. A head and torso shot of Tunney follows with him flexing his bare muscles for the camera. Action from the Tunney and Carpentier fight shows the American knocking out the Frenchman. As a former U.S. Marine, Tunney is then shown being carried on the shoulders of uniformed marines and other Army personnel amongst a crowd of admirers. He talks to spectators while atop servicemen's shoulder's and we see young children furiously waving. Action switches to pre-fight action in the ring between Tunney and Tommy Gibbons at New York's Polo Ground. Cameramen with their apparatus can be seen filming the two opponents shaking hands. The two boxers, with towels draped over their shoulders, pose for the cameras. Close-up of Gibbons seated on his stool in one of the corners. Cornermen flank him either side. Tunney is then shown confidently leaning on the rope in his corner. Action from the twelfth round of the fight. Tunney lands a right punch to the jaw of Gibbons, who crashes to the canvas on the seat of his pants. Up at the count of seven, Tunney moves in for the kill and with two heavy right-handed punches to the jaw, Gibbons slumps prostrate to the floor. For the first time in his career, Gibbons suffers his first knockout, as he is counted out by the referee.
Tunney is shown in training outdoors, pummelling the punchbag close up with both hands. Then switching to an outdoor ring, where he spars with a partner who wears a head guard. Seated crowd, including many women, watch intently, and then with laughter as he playfully boxes a small boy in boxing gear and gloves. Another young boy is given a chance in the ring. At the finish of their session they touch gloves and the small boy throws his arms around Tunney, who takes him in his arms. Switching to the crowded streets of New York, we see Tunney in an open topped saloon car surrounded by police out riders on motor bikes. Tunney, in suit, is shown descending steps outside a building with a number of dignataries, stopping for a close-up by the camera. Two years after this presentation Tunney retires, leaving the ring as undefeated champion. Final head and shoulder shot of a smiling Tunney in open-necked white shirt.
Max Schmelling of Germany is shown seated on a railing aboard a ship. In trilby and fur-lined overcoat, he waves his hat towards the camera. Close-up of head and shoulders of the immaculately groomed Schmelling. He is then shown on a beach in bathing costume throwing a medicine ball to another man also in bathing costume. Small crowd of onlookers, some in swimming gear, others fully clothed, with three in plus-fours. Schmelling wins the title on a foul committed by opponent Jack Sharkey. He susequently loses it when he refuses to defend in a return against Sharkey. We then see Schmelling sparring in an outdoor ring, both boxers wearing headgear. Schmelling knocks his sparring partner to the ground. Schmelling is then shown posing on the steps of a house with his manager Joe Jacobs and another man. Schmelling wears plus fours and black and white shoes. Jacobs similarly in plus fours and large flat cap. Close-up of Jacobs with cigar in mouth. A head shot of a smiling Schmelling, who loses his eventual rematch with Sharkey.
Shot of the moon-faced Sharkey, then shadow boxing in vest and gloves on a tenement roof. He is shown in 1927 running along a path in cap, jumper, and trousers with two cocker spaniels. He is then shown crouched as a small boy bounces up and down on a seesaw. Then with a young baby boy in his arms. These two children are probably his sons. Sharkey sparring again in headgear as he punches his partner onto the ropes as a seated crowd look on in amazement. Next he is shown pedalling furiously indoors on an exercise bike. Although losing his first fight with Schmelling due to a foul, he triumphs in their subsequent meeting. He is shown serving behind his own bar in 1934, shaking the hand of one of his customers.
Switching to a crowded street scene, the Italian boxer, Primo Carnera, is mobbed by fans. Carnera wears hat, suit, tie and overcoat. He is then shown road running with two others in flat cap, trousers, and boots. The action moves to the boxing ring where he skips with a rope, before bending to touch his massive feet and traverse the ring bent-double. Then towering over his sparring partner as they exchange blows watched by a seated crowd. Carnera wins the title from Sharkey at Long Island Bowl in 1933 by a sixth round knock-out. We see Carnera pounding the punch-bag watched by an attentive audience. Carnera in boxing vest then laughs as the camera takes a close-up shot.
Max Baer is then shown road running with two others. He is shown sitting on a stool in the ring, using the small punch bag, sparring and flooring his partner. Then lying on the beach with another man playing with a bucket and spade. Despite his clowning Baer subsequently defeats Carnera to become heavyweight champion of the world. We see his 'rubber legs' trick while sparring in headgear, before a close-up of Baer, towel round neck, aiming a punch at the camera. Baer loses his title to James Braddock.
Next we see Tony Galento pounding the small punchbag in a ring. The bartender from New Jersey is shown skipping in the ring, before talking to the camera from a stool in the corner. The rotund Galento, hence his nickname 'Two Ton', is shown sparring in headgear, his partner trying to dodge and duck his ungainly punches. He is shown in trousers and casual shirt, cigar in mouth, bnehind his bar pulling a glass of beer. He then pulls a beer in a giant glass and takes a sip.
James J. Braddock, winner against Baer, is shown using the punchball outdoors watched by a number of small children and a mother holding a child. A shot of a signpost of the street in New Jersey where he lives, then spectators hanging over the fence of his backgarden. Braddock seated in suit and tie with his wife. His two sons by his side, daughter on wife's lap. He has both sons in each arm, kisses them, as they proclaim him champion. Braddock is then shown sparring in the ring in headgear, before coaching young boys in swimming trunks and gloves outdoors, watched by an attentive crowd.
Joe Louis is shown chopping wood outdoors at a farmwith an axe. We see him aged twenty in training in 1934 with a skipping rope. Then sparring in the ring in headgear, knocking his partner onto the ropes. Louis is then shown pounding the punchball, before more sparring action as Louis decks his partner. He beats Braddock to become the youngest ever heavyweight champion and we see a wildly cheering coloured crowd waving newspapers covering his victory. Defending the title 25 times and through the war years, after retiring we see the 36 year old Louis training for his comeback, donning headgear and sparring with an opponent. Shot of dog in Army cap and cigarette in mouth. Louis is shown pounding the punchball watched by young girls at the ringside, before towelling down.
Ezzard Charles is seen pounding the punchball, then sparring in the ring for his fight for the title with Jersey Joe Walcott. We see him shadow boxing in an outdoor ring watched by mainly white spectators, many women. More training with Charles pounding the punchbag before being towelled down by an aide. After defeating Walcott twice, Charles loses a third match. Walcott is shown shadow boxing in an outdoor ring wearing a towelling robe with his name emblazoned on the back. He pounds the punchball before sparring in headgear in an outdoor ring watched by a number of spectators. He is welcomed back to his home town of Camden, New Jersey, arriving in an open topped cadillac, with spectators crowding the sidewalks. A cheering crowd, mostly coloured, are shown cheering his arrival. Walcott is shown in casual clothes, walking amongst the crowd with his arm around a young boy. The same boy places a paper crown on the head of the seated Walcott, with the words 'champio' written on it. Next we see Walcott in a suit, shirt, and tie, with Rocky Marciano, signing contracts for their upcoming fight.
The subsequent winner, Marciano, is then shown circling an indoor ring, training for the return fightwith Walcott. We see him sparring in headgear with a partner before his eventual second win over Walcott. He is then shown sprinting outdoors with his trainers in a field before relaxing in a chair surrounded by young children. The film concludes by showing action from a number of minor boxing contests that show knockdowns, with fighters slumping to the floor and through the ropes. One pair crash through the ropes together before rolling onto the spectators at ringside. A number of knockouts from different minor fights follow, before two knockdowns from heavily crowded outdoor fights. THE END appears on a boxing love.
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