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A boxer reforms his crooked manager.
At a late night poker game in Vidalia, a small town on the Mississippi, crooked gambler Willy Wurble is about to be exposed for cheating when the other players are distracted by the sound of an altercation on the pier outside. From the window they see Daniel Norson defending himself and a young woman against the pipe-wielding Sixty Jubel and two thugs. When Daniel hits him, Sixty Jubel falls and hits his head against a metal drum. Daniel escapes the thugs by diving into the river. Meanwhile, as the other gamblers discover that the money in the poker pot has been stolen, Willy escapes in a row boat. Some distance from shore, Willy finds Daniel struggling in the water and rescues him. As they row away, Daniel says that a stranger in town named Sixty Jubel made a pass at Daniel's girl friend Blossom at a recent dance, then ambushed the couple earlier that evening. The deeply religious Daniel confesses that he killed Sixty Jubel, and says his late father was a preacher. When they reach the shore in Natchez, Willy gives Daniel some money, then calls his wife Sarah from a hotel pay phone. The following morning, Sarah arrives with Happy Jackfield, a slow-witted young boxer whom Willy manages. Willy and Happy encounter Daniel in the street, and when Willy notices the young man's powerful build, he offers to turn him into a prize fighter. Believing that God has sent Willy to him for a reason, Daniel agrees. Willy takes Daniel--whom he dubs the "Tennessee Champ"--to small-time fight promoter J. B. Backett and proposes he fight Happy in a fixed match. After a hasty boxing lesson, Daniel finds himself in the ring with Happy, who pummels him with illegal rabbit punches and kidney blows until the sweet-natured Daniel gets angry and knocks him out. Willy convinces Daniel it is the Lord's will that he continue boxing, and the young man moves in with the Wurbles and begins a serious training program. One night, Daniel donates a portion of his winnings to a local church, and he and the Wurbles are invited to attend services. Daniel addresses the congregation with natural ease, and later tells Willy that his goal is to finish work on the church his father started building. Daniel's boxing career progresses, and one night Willy is visited by his old friend, crooked boxing manager Luke MacWade, who suggests a match between their fighters in St. Louis. Willy insists that MacWade's boxer throw the fight, and MacWade agrees if Willy will put up all the promotion money. Over Sarah's objections, Willy uses Daniel's earnings and pawns her engagement ring to raise the cash. The night of the match, MacWade bribes Happy to rub sand in Daniel's eyes so that he will lose the fight. Perplexed, Happy talks to Daniel and reveals that the fight has been fixed. Daniel angrily refuses to fight, despite Willy's protests that canceling the event will bankrupt him. Willy is touched by Daniel's integrity, however, and later receives a sudden inspiration that sends him to Memphis in the middle of the night. Several weeks later, Willy sends for Sarah, and she is surprised to discover that he has arranged for Daniel's church to sponsor a match between Daniel and the undefeated "Biloxi Block Buster." Assisting Daniel is Happy, who repented for his earlier actions and has hitchhiked from St. Louis to be with him. Daniel tells Willy that he plans to surrender to the police in Vidalia after the fight. When the opponents face each other in the ring, Daniel is stunned to learn that the other fighter is actually Sixty Jubel. The two men fight fiercely, and Daniel takes a terrible beating before knocking Sixty Jubel out. After the match, Daniel finds Blossom waiting for him. Daniel tells the assembled reporters that after he and Blossom marry, he will retire from the ring and take his father's place as deacon of the church in Vidalia. Willy privately assures Sarah that Daniel will have enough money to build his church, and as Sarah remarks upon the improvement in her husband's character, he slips her engagement ring back on her finger.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||World premiere in Memphis, TN: 25 Feb 1954|
|Release Date:||1954||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Anscocolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
Leonard Maltin Ratings & Review
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User Ratings & Review
Fine little sleeper....
Great story Scott.....Mr. Martin never gave a bad performance.....It's nice to hear stories like yours about the old school Hollywood!!
I had planned to watch this little film, but was late getting in. I missed about the first 20 minutes. I knew immediately I would regret having come in...
A delightful "sleepe"r from 1954.
Scott MacDonough 2013-01-02
I was 8-years-old when I went to our local movie theater to see "The Long, Long Trailer". Although somewhat disappointed with that main feature,...