One of the oldest stories in pictures – the grooming of a heavyweight champion – has been done again with good results [from the Saturday Evening Post story by Francis Wallace].
The treatment is sophisticated and production deluxe. Also more than the usual amount of romance for a slugfest. This allows room for Bette Davis to moon over the clean kid from the farm, and for the fight manager’s convent-bred sister to also fall in love with him.
But essentially it’s the story of the kid’s manager (Edward G. Robinson) who maneuvers to match the bellhop-pugilist (Wayne Morris) in order to pay off the grudge he holds for a felonious fellow-manager (Humphrey Bogart) whose methods are always on the muscle side.
Davis has two or three nice opportunities and as usual handles herself throughout with plenty of noodle work. She’s been photographed for glittering results in a couple of the sequences by Tony Gaudio. Script adroitly avoids any line or allusion that could identify her as the mistress of Robinson, who, however, is constantly walking into her apartment with a proprietary air. Davis also sings one song in a night club sequence, voice seemingly being doubled.
Robinson and Bogart, both grim guys, make their rivalry entirely plausible. Both performers know how.