10 ~ Wallace Berry in The Champ

10 Dec

Wallace Beery is mostly identified with the character of Richard, the Lion-Heartcd, which he played in “Robin Hood” and also in a picture of the same name. He is a brother of Noah was also a great character actor in the 30’s & 40’s. Wallace was the first husband of Gloria Swanson.

But what I remember Beery for was his portrayal in the 1931 film, The Champ. I watched this film a few weeks after I had saw the re-make with Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder. I must say the original was much better. Beery was a powerful presence on the screen, and he made you feel his pain and passion.

Beery plays the alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy “Champ” Purcell and despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions his son, Dink (Jackie Cooper) still adores his father and would do anything for him. Enter the long lost mother, who is now married and has money. Dink goes to live with his mother, but misses his father immensely. Andy, wanting to prove his worth to his son enters one more time in a boxing match.

Directed by one of the best director of the day, King Vidor was beautifully shot, and the intimate closing scenes were by far some of the best directing and acting on screen. Wallace Beery went on that year to tie for the Best Acting Oscar with Fredrick March and Frances Marion won a writing Oscar.

After watching this film, anytime I would see an old Wallace Beery film on TV I would have to sit down and watch it. He was one of the great under-rated actors of his time.

3 responses to “10 ~ Wallace Berry in The Champ

  1. Ralph Bishop

    January 26, 2008 at 5:53 am

    I have been trying to find a movie that I saw as a young boy in the 1960’s. The movie appeared to be made before 1940, but I may be wrong. The movie was about a very ambitious man. The movie begins when two young boys (friends) and a young girl are playing (swimming). One boy and the girl are brother and sister and appear to be from a wealthy family. The other boy is poor. The poor boy saves the girl or her brother from drowning. The father of the saved child is so thankful, he allows the boy to stay with them, and later pays the boy’s way into Harvard. The poor boy was also supposed to marry the girl (daughter), but he was too ambitious. Later in life, after he had ruthlessly made millions, the “poor boy” came across a girl who looked like the young girl of his past who he was supposed to marry. The woman was engaged to his best friend who was his friend from his youth. His friend went to Dartmouth and became an engineer.

    Anyway, the main actor (the poor boy who later became very wealthy) was played by an actor who had a thin mustache.

  2. mjwoh

    January 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    This very possibly sounds like the movie Ruthless 1948, starring Zachery Scott

    • Andre Ducard

      March 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      what about Errol flynn and Tyrone Power?


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