Boxed in

Kid Galahad is the story of a boxing promoter Nick Donati (Edward G. Robinson) trying to extract revenge after being double-crossed by Turkey Morgan (Humphrey Bogart). Said revenge is extracted by way of a belhop, rechristened the Galahad of the title, whose potential is made known when he defends the honor of Donati's girlfriend (Bette Davis). Kid Galahad is a good old boy who really only wants his own farm. And his strength seems to go hand-in-hand with his goodness.

The main complication is that Galahad falls in love with Donati's sister when he is stashed away at the farm run by Donati's mother for his safety. Donati is unfashionably protective of his sister - she works in a convent, after all - and doesn't take to the idea.

The plot moves along stochastically, with the individual scenes self-contained, but lacking any real punch. Robinson in particular, along with Davis and Bogart, all are compelling to watch and have a knack at delivering their lines, but the supporting cast is spotty, and even Wayne Morris' Galahad seems to stumble dazed through the picture.

Donati and Turkey Morgan's animosity results in Galahad fighting the champion, but Donati's loyalties are crossed up and puts him in a position to be redeemed. It's the perfect setup to an ending we've seen so many times before. Does it work? If you can allow the grainy black and white image to paint a fairy-tale simplicity over the scene, perhaps so. Yet the moralty play only succeeds on the most basic level. Watch this one for the great old stars and don't let the plot get to you.

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