THE CHAMP (1931) B/W 85m dir: King Vidor

w/Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Roscoe Ates, Edward Brophy, Hale Hamilton, Jesse Scott, Marcia Mae Jones

From The Movie Guide: "Beery won an Oscar [in a tie with Fredric March for DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE] for his role as a down-at-heels ex-heavyweight boxing champion who trains for a comeback in Tijuana in between boozing and gambling, egged on only by his pipe dreams and those of his young son (Cooper). ...

"A famous tearjerker of its day, THE CHAMP is unabashed in its assault upon the audience's emotions. Cynics are advised to keep their distance, but in defense of this extremely sentimental film one should note the genuine rapport between Beery and Cooper and the quiet skill of director Vidor. A film with a lot of heart, unafraid to bare its emotions, THE CHAMP still plays well, its slightly gritty look more effective than the softness Franco Zeffirelli brought to the lesser 1979 remake."

Note: This "genuine rapport" that The Movie Guide describes was really just terrific acting. Devotees of Turner Classic Movies will recall a short interview with Jackie Cooper (aired often as a filler between movies on the channel) in which Cooper talks of Beery's dislike for children and how the old ham would shove the child actor from his knee the moment the cameras stopped rolling.

The film also won an Oscar for Best Original Story and was nominated for Best Picture and Director.