There has never been a closed season on the making of moving pictures having as a background, the prize ring. The color and alleged glamor surrounding the game of modified murder, as it is fondly and satirically called, has always been fair game for scenario writers. Why no really authentic and believable prize fight film has been made is just another of the unfathomable mysteries that confound students of the cinema.
The latest fight film to arrive in town comes from the Warren studios under the title of “The Personality Kid.” It is based on a story by Gene Towne and Graham Baker and is showing at the Rialto. Pat O’Brien plays the male lead. Female starring is taken care of by Glenda Farrell.
“Personality Kid” varies very little from the usual pattern of fight pictures. Pat O’Brien is cast in the part of middleweight contender. He is not a hard puncher but believes himself so clever that he can out-think and out-box his opponents. He is managed by his wife (Glenda Farrell) who cleverly picks his antagonists so that he cannot lose. Our hero knows nothing of this method and soon is convinced that he is a great fighter. A fashionable group of ladies and gentlemen take up our fighter and he soon forsakes his wife for the cool but classy blandishments of Claire Dodd but not before he has discovered that his opponents were allowing themselves to be beaten. This disgusts him and we soon find the leather pusher skidding down the scale but he, through sheer determination, magically develops a punch and fights his way honestly back to fame and fortune. The final scenes find him reunited with his wife who is about to bring into the world a little prize fighter.
With these ingredients it is a trifle difficult to swallow the dish served by the Warrens. We all know that the prize fighting business has no monopoly on honesty but this idea of building up fighters by having opponents swoon before them is grossly exaggerated. Another implausibility is the sudden punching power discovered by our hero. Fighters like writers, musicians and other artists are born with talent! It is not an acquired characteristic, but then it is futile to expect reality from Hollywood.
In preparing for the picture Pat O’Brien, according to the press reports, was coached by Jackie Fields, Mushy Callahan and Marvin Shecter, three Jewish fistic performers. It is also stated that O’Brien was, in his college days very proficient with his hands. This may be true but in “The Personality Kid” he looks like a fifth-rate club boxer who hasn’t had a glove on for years. All of which does not add to the enjoyment of the picture which must be marked “B” minus entertainment.
JEWISH PAGEANT IN PICTURES; OTHER NOTES
“Romance of the People” the great Jewish historical spectacle which played in New York last year will be revived in a modified form and shown upon the stage of the Roxy Theatre during the week of September 7.
Kate Price, the hefty female comedienne will soon return to the screen. She has been absent for nearly two years, the result of an automobile accident in which she was injured.
Sylvia Sidney, the Jewish actress, will next be seen in “Broadway Financier,” a picture based on a story by Damon Runyon.
“Here Comes the Navy” with James Cagney will play another week at the Strand, making it three in a row for Cagney.