Saturday, April 30, 2011
Golden Boy (3 stars)
Golden Boy, from 1939, is a drama starring Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, and William Holden, in his film debut. A re-watch of this film was part of the movie marathon I enjoyed in celebration of William Holden's recent birthday. Even though the movie is not among my favorite of his works, I figured it had to be watched on his birthday . . . his debut film on the day he debuted into the world. (Technically, this wasn't Holden's film debut, as he had two very minor uncredited parts prior to this one.)
Joe Bonaparte (Holden) is a sensitive young violinist, who lives with his father, sister, and brother-in-law, above the family's grocery store. Although Joe plays the violin beautifully and could possibly have a future in music, he wants to make money quickly and, therefore, begins boxing for Tom Moody (Adolphe Menjou).
Joe becomes an overnight sensation in the boxing ring, but since a violinist needs his hands and he could possibly injure his hands boxing, he talks about backing out. Moody knows that he has a money-maker in Joe, though, so he's not about to let him walk away and, therefore, instructs his secretary/mistress, Lorna Moon (Stanwyck), to change Joe's mind. Joe has fallen in love with Lorna, and after she leads him to believe she loves him too and that there can be a future for them, Joe returns to the boxing world.
Because Joe is such a sensation, he quickly attracts the attention of another promoter, one that promises him bigger and better things. Joe jumps at the opportunity and leaves Moody's organization, which infuriates Moody and sends Lorna, once again, to Joe's side in an attempt to change his mind.
As the remainder of the movie plays out, Joe becomes disillusioned with boxing. But does he quit? Does he return to the violin? Does he really love Lorna? Does she really love him? Those are the questions that will be answered by watching this movie. As I said earlier, this is not one of my favorite Bill Holden flicks, but it is a very solid 3 stars. It's easy to see why he would go on to become the star that he did. Just have to say, though, he's hardly recognizeable . . . his hair is wavy, and there's alot of it. It's funny to see him that way.
Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses (#3), and William Holden is my #1, so even though Golden Boy isn't a favorite, I did enjoy the pairing. And I thought they had great chemistry together. The movie is out on DVD and should be quite easy to track down.