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Grab your dreams, come out of your corner and step out swinging. The double Oscar winner The Champ is ready to take on the world! With feet planted, chin tucked and its heart unashamedly on its sleeve, this original father-son tale (remade in 1979) remains one of the all-time great tearjerkers. In an Academy Award-winning Best Actor performance, burly Wallace Beery - he of the fog-cutter voice and gruff warmth - plays the washed-up prizefighter making a ring comeback to provide for his son. Nine-year-old Our Gang comedy star Jackie Cooper is Dink, as devoted a son as ever stood in any man's corner. Laugh. Cry. Cheer. Cry some more. Even as The Champ breaks your heart, it heals the spirit.
Actors: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates, Edward Brophy
Directors: King Vidor
Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
Run Time: 86 minutes
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
But first of all this is a great, great movie. One of those that will make you cry in a couple of scenes at least; if you don't, you'd better check your pulse.
Now, here are the subterraneous plots that I see:
1) The familial, the relation between a divorced father and his little son, whom he loves immensely and by whom he is likewise corresponded. This, actually, is not a plot but a naturalistic depiction of this relationship thru story details and characterization.
2) The social. The incompatibility between high-class minded people and simple minded/humble people.
3) The individual relationships between the three main characters or roles: the uneducated and loving father, the apparently educated and classy mother and the innocent child. This triangle gives a lot of food for thought about the mysteries of the human soul. And every viewer will have his own take on this side of the story.
I hope we'll be able to see soon on dvd more of Vidor's great classics, like "The Crowd", "The Fountainhead", "Our Daily Bread", or the great "The Big Parade".
One more thing: The quality of the dvd is exeptional. It doesn't seem like you are watching an old movie at all.
Purcell's son Dink, played by Jackie Cooper, was completely devoted to his father. Dink was being raised in a less-than-desirable environment and had adopted some crude ways but, in spite of everything, was charming, friendly, and caring to his father and to friends. Though Andy disappointed him on a few occasions in the movie, Dink's loyalty and love for him came shining through to the very end when the boy witnessed the death of his father.
The story, acted out, brings tears, sentiment, and evokes tender feelings for both Andy who wanted so much to make his son happy and for Dink who remained faithful to his father through it all. The honesty in Dink's character provides a moral lesson and example for children today to stay faithful and to love and honor their parents, no matter what may happen.
I have seen a number of other films with Wallace Beery and his character is generally the same in every movie; a sort of Victor McLaughlin with a lower voice. He's quite the likable character but what impressed me the most was the many times he spoke his lines as though they were an "in-character" ad lib offering. As I noticed those scenes, I saw others in which he seemed to speak as though from a script. However, his "aw shucks" style never varied and the way the words flowed seemingly spontaneously is probably the reason he won the Best Actor Oscar for "The Champ".
Beery had real competition for that award from young Jackie Coogan. I was equally impressed with his acting and I felt that there were parts of the movie that the director may have turned him loose to do his own ad-libbing. His emotions were very effective and never overdone, even at the end. The scene where he discovers that the drunk being brought to jail in the paddy wagon is actually his father is outstanding. There were many other noteworthy scenes of his as well. The supporting cast is rather standard fare and serves only to fill in the roles necessary for Beery and Coogan to strut their stuff.
The plot is rather predictable and you could sense the ending almost from the beginning. Much of the plot is there to enhance our appreciation of this father/son relationship. At times the scenes let us know how bad a father Beery is while other scenes (often the same ones) let us know how devoted a son Coogan is. I usually succumb to a good tear-jertker but "The Champ" left me more inspired by the acting than teary-eyed from the plot. Either way, this is a worthwhile movie to see.