Body and Soul is a great boxing film noir, although it\'s more a tale of character than boxing. For a better plot summary and review than I could write, see the IMDb information below.
One thing I find fascinating about the classic film noir period is the number of people involved in the making of these films who, sooner or later, came under fire by The House Un-American Activities Commission (HUAC). There are at least two prominent figures in this movie who were so concerned: writer Abraham Polonsky and star John Garfield. Prior to becoming a noir fanatic, I had only vaguely heard of this era of history, and I\'ve educated myself in the meantime. It\'s pretty fascinating, to say the least. There\'s more info in the included text file, for anyone who\'s interested.
IMBD USER RATING 8.0
PLOT: Charley Davis wins an amateur boxing match and is taken on by promoter Quinn. Charley\'s mother doesn\'t want him to fight, but when Charley\'s father is accidentally killed, Charley sets up a fight for money. His career blooms as he wins fight after fight, but soon an unethical promoter named Roberts begins to show an interest in Charley, and Charley finds himself faced with increasingly difficult choices. Will he make the right choices when it counts?
REVIEW (from IMDb with a bit of editing by me): \"More A Human Interest Story Than A Boxing Tale\"
I looked at this as simply a great story, a solid drama that happened to have the sport of boxing in it. \"Boxing movies,\" if people insist on labeling this under that category, were particularly popular around the time of this film. Many of them had similar stories about a good guy being told to take a dive by unscrupulous promoters. Yes, that was in here, too, but it wasn\'t the central part of the story. This film was in some ways a \"Raging Bull\"-type tale, in that it concentrated not only on the main title character, but also on the friends, family, freeloaders, criminals and women around him.
This was a story about a decent man who gets carried away with success and with the power and money that goes with it. As good as the lead actor, John Garfield, was in here - and he was plenty good - the supporting characters were equally intriguing.
Lilly Palmer looked and sounded the part of a refined, sweet, pretty girl, and was a good contrast to the uneducated and quick tempered Charley (Garfield). As in so many stories, she wasn\'t fully appreciated by her man until the end. Anne Revere as Garfield\'s mom (she seemed to always play the lead character\'s mother in 1940s films) was fascinating as always, and kudos to Joseph Peveny as Shorty and Lloyd Gough as Roberts. Both added a lot to the film. Wlliam Conrad and Hazel Brooks added some classic film noir repartee, berating each other once in a while.
These actors, and the photography of James Wong Howe, make this a cut above most other so-called \"boxing films.\"