14 August 2006 | Howard_B_Eale
rare little B-noir is worth tracking down
Low-budget melodrama with very fine performances, adapted by author Robert Abel from his own stage play, THE SAMSON SLASHER. Though it suffers a few minor lapses in character logic (i.e. one character reveals something rather devastating about his lover, but the next scene finds his lover behaving as if nothing had happened), the writing is uniformly sharp in the story of an amateur boxer sprung from prison who falls in love with the niece of the hanging judge who sentenced him.
Sheldon Leonard and Wally Cassel are quite strong in critical supporting roles, though lead actor William Bishop is a slightly flat cross between Frank Lovejoy and Rock Hudson. He pulls it off adequately, but it's the brother characters played by Leonard and Cassel who buoy the narrative, with the latter as a quite obviously gay, and spurned, boxing trainer.
A fascinating aspect of this film is its absolutely relentless final boxing match, where Bishop takes a pummeling not unlike the depiction of the LaMotta/Leonard fight in RAGING BULL where DeNiro's LaMotta refuses to go down. One has to wonder if Scorsese caught this rarity on late-night television and it stuck.
It's difficult to find information on this film but it appears to be in the public domain, so perhaps it will turn up as a bargain basement DVD. Particularly interesting to note that this is the sole film of stage director Edmund Angelo (who also produced, and cast his wife, Ann Richards).