Prizefighter and the Lady, The (1933)

“He’s just a big kid — playful and thoughtless.”

As a beefy bartender (Max Baer) begins training with a washed-up boxing promoter (Walter Huston), he falls for the singing moll (Myrna Loy) of a gangster (Otto Krueger), who is primarily worried about Loy’s happiness given Baer’s enormous ego and roving eye.


W.S. Van Dyke directed this pre-Code showcase for world heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer, who exhibited natural acting chops and was easily able to slip into the title role. Unfortunately, his character isn’t exactly likable — he’s self-absorbed, arrogant, and an inveterate player — so it’s hard to maintain sympathy for Loy’s interest in him. The storyline is essentially a woman giving her life up for a man who doesn’t deserve her, and thus it’s hard to know what outcome to root for. There is a surreal interlude at one point, during which Baer sings and dances in a revue with a bevy of much-smaller women, showing off his strength and size; this is worth a watch (though Baer is no Gene Kelly). The film ends with a lengthy fight between Baer and Primo Carnera, who he soundly defeated in real life the following year — thus making this flick of historical interest to boxing fans, but probably not others.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Myrna Loy as “The Lady”
  • The surreal musical number (!!)
  • Creative direction

Must See?
No, unless you’re curious.


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