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HISTORY

According to news items in HR , Columbia bought the rights to the play in 1938 for $100,000 as a starring vehicle for Jean Arthur, who was to be directed by Frank Capra. John Garfield (who portrayed Joe Bonaparte in the play), Elia Kazan, Richard Carlson and Tyrone Power were all considered for the role of Bonaparte, but Fox refused to loan-out Power and Carlson's commitment to Stars in Your Eyes , a Broadway show, prevented him from taking the role. A NYT article notes that director Rouben Mamoulian was so impressed by William Holden's screen test that he arranged for Columbia to buy 50 percent of his contract from Paramount. This picture marked Holden's first starring role and launched his film career. Another news item in HR adds that the film was shot on location at Madison Square Garden. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Modern sources credit George Cooper as sound recorder, Leo Shuken with orchestrations, Abe Roth as technical advisor and Hollis Donahue as Barbara Stanwyck's ... More Less

According to news items in HR , Columbia bought the rights to the play in 1938 for $100,000 as a starring vehicle for Jean Arthur, who was to be directed by Frank Capra. John Garfield (who portrayed Joe Bonaparte in the play), Elia Kazan, Richard Carlson and Tyrone Power were all considered for the role of Bonaparte, but Fox refused to loan-out Power and Carlson's commitment to Stars in Your Eyes , a Broadway show, prevented him from taking the role. A NYT article notes that director Rouben Mamoulian was so impressed by William Holden's screen test that he arranged for Columbia to buy 50 percent of his contract from Paramount. This picture marked Holden's first starring role and launched his film career. Another news item in HR adds that the film was shot on location at Madison Square Garden. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Modern sources credit George Cooper as sound recorder, Leo Shuken with orchestrations, Abe Roth as technical advisor and Hollis Donahue as Barbara Stanwyck's hairdresser. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Aug 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Aug 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Aug 39
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Aug 39
p. 50.
New York Times
27 Aug 1939.
---
New York Times
8 Sep 39
p. 28.
Variety
16 Aug 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Rouben Mamoulian Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Montage eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Golden Boy by Clifford Odets, as produced by The Group Theatre of New York (New York, 4 Nov 1937).
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 September 1939
Production Date:
12 April--21 June 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures, Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 August 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9075
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5368
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Joe Bonaparte was born to be a violinist, but feeling suddenly that life is fleeting and that his practice is getting him nowhere, he decides to take up boxing. His father, the owner of a modest grocery store, is proud of his son's musical gift and spends his savings to buy Joe a fine violin. On the night that he is to present it to his son, Joe enters the fight ring, wins one hundred dollars, and decides that fighting is his game. Turning his back on his father's dreams, Joe hooks up with fight manager Tom Moody and makes a rapid rise. As the novelty of boxing wears off, however, he finds his inner conscience dictating his return to the violin. Moody's sweetheart, Lorna Moon, works on the boy to continue fighting for fame and money, but when the pair fall in love, Lorna comes to understand Joe's love for music and tries to persuade him to give up fighting. When racketeering gangster Eddie Fuseli moves in to assume Joe's contract for betting manipulations, Lorna becomes disillusioned and agrees to marry Tom. Joe's indecision finally ends when he kills an opponent in the ring, and tortured by his conscience, he discards his gloves and returns home to his father, his violin and ... +


Joe Bonaparte was born to be a violinist, but feeling suddenly that life is fleeting and that his practice is getting him nowhere, he decides to take up boxing. His father, the owner of a modest grocery store, is proud of his son's musical gift and spends his savings to buy Joe a fine violin. On the night that he is to present it to his son, Joe enters the fight ring, wins one hundred dollars, and decides that fighting is his game. Turning his back on his father's dreams, Joe hooks up with fight manager Tom Moody and makes a rapid rise. As the novelty of boxing wears off, however, he finds his inner conscience dictating his return to the violin. Moody's sweetheart, Lorna Moon, works on the boy to continue fighting for fame and money, but when the pair fall in love, Lorna comes to understand Joe's love for music and tries to persuade him to give up fighting. When racketeering gangster Eddie Fuseli moves in to assume Joe's contract for betting manipulations, Lorna becomes disillusioned and agrees to marry Tom. Joe's indecision finally ends when he kills an opponent in the ring, and tortured by his conscience, he discards his gloves and returns home to his father, his violin and Lorna. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Boxing


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.