Tagline – The story of a guy that women go for!
Starring – John Garfield (Charlie Davis), Lilli Palmer (Peg Born), Hazel Brooks (Alice), Anne Revere (Anna Davis), William Conrad (Quinn).
Released – November, 1947
Directed By – Robert Rossen
Produced By – Enterprise Productions
Distributed By – United Artists
Description – For middleweight boxing champion Charlie Davis, fighting his way out of the slums was the easy part.
Charlie starts boxing as a kid and he’s pretty good at it. Nothing is easy in Charlie’s neighborhood and making matters worse is tragedy. Charlie’s father is hard-working and dirt poor. He runs a family candy store and becomes the victim of a gangland bombing when a local mobster bombs a speakeasy located next to the store.
Against his mother’s wishes, Charlie decides to become a paid prize fighter. With his best friend “Shorty,” acting as his manager, and small-time fight trainer Quinn in his corner, Charlie works his way up to a title shot.
Charlie’s quick rise has been noticed by a crooked promoter named Roberts who buys his rights and assumes control of his career. It just so happens that Roberts also owns the contract of the current champion and he has his own plans for Charlie.
This new arrangement, and it’s associations with the mob, have an immediate impact on Charlie’s personal life. Charlie has just gotten engaged to girlfriend Peg Born, but his new future prospects, and the promises of Roberts, cause him to cancel the wedding. Peg leaves him, and his mother, now penniless, disowns him. Charlie’s decent is off to a quick start.
But, Charlie is blind to the pain he has caused and has only one thing is sight… to become champion. He believes that as champ he will be able to fix anything that has gone wrong.
Roberts sets Charlie up with a swanky apartment and plenty in cash advances. Charlie falls deeper and deeper into what will be an eventual setup while Roberts gains greater control over him.
Charlie does win the title causing severe injury to the then champ. Best friend Shorty, who has been with Charlie since the beginning, has finally had enough of the whole mob connected and controlled business and ends up both fired… and dead.
The stage is set. Now, Charlie is the champ and there is another up-and-coming fighter looking for his title. Roberts is holding the reins and orders Charlie to throw the fight for a cool $60,000.
NOTABLE: Body and Soul won the Oscar for Best Film Editing, and received nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (John Garfield), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
The innovative camera work in the boxing ring was shot by cinematographer James Wong Howe, who was hand-picked by Garfield for the film. Howe held the camera while on roller skates being pushed around the ring by an assistant.
Many in the cast and crew found themselves victim’s of the House on Un-American Activities Committee. They included writer Abraham Polonsky, actors John Garfield, Ann Revere, Lloyd Gough, Canada Lee, Art Smith, Shimen Ruskin, producer Bob Roberts, and cinematographor Howe.