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104 minutes · 1947
John Garfield as the ghetto boy who boxes his way to the title and is then told to take a dive by his cynical promoter. Trite is hardly the word for the plot, which was already wheezy by the time this minor classic was made in 1947, but Abraham Polonsky's script brings such tight, painful focus to the moral choices that it seems fresh and real. Robert Rossen's direction is often questionable in its self-consciously mythic stylization and the theatrical accents he gives the minor players. But here Garfield found his signature role, and his delivery of the curtain line, with its deep courage and equally deep resignation, is unforgettable. With Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere, William Conrad, and Canada Lee.

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