"I'll put you in the hospital for a long, long time."
Description: Kirk Douglas as Midge Kelly, a prizefighter warns Grace Diamond (Marilyn Maxwell) that she better be a good little girl (or else) in the motion picture Champion (1949).
|Connie Kelly:||Oh, this rotten business!|
|Midge Kelly:||Awww, lay off the business. It's like any other business, only here the blood shows.|
Midge Kelly is an ambitious boxer who wants to make it to the top. Initially, Midge and his lame brother, Connie (Arthur Kennedy) hitch-hike to California, in hopes of buying a diner. Midge romances Emma Bryce (Ruth Roman), the daughter of the diner owner and is forced to marry her. But marriage is not enough for Midge who decides to pursue his true passion - professional boxing.
Leaving his Emma behind, Midge sets out to conquer the boxing world. Managed by Tom Haley (Paul Stewart), Midge rises to the fame he sought. Upon winning a bout, he says to his brother Connie, "For the first time in my life, people cheering for me. Were you deaf? Didn't you hear 'em? We're not hitchhiking any more. We're riding!"
Along the way, Midge steps on a lot of people and breaks a lot of hearts. One such casualty was Grace Diamond, a blond siren and former lover of Johnny Dunne (John Daheim), an up-and-coming contender whom Midge eventually beats. Grace originally left Johhny for Midge but her love only corrupts Midge ever more. When Grace insists that Midge rekindle their relationship, he tells her to take a hike.
|Grace:||You're a liar.|
|Midge:||You think so. Well, the next time your in Chicago you go to 46th Eagle Street, and if you don't find Mrs. Michael Kelly there I'll marry you any day you say. I ain't kidding. I'm not kidding.|
|Grace:||You've been taking me for a sucker all this time.|
|Midge:||Honey, you never asked me if I was married. Anyway, what's the difference. You did alright with me. I'm in hock to Harrah's up to my ears.|
|Grace:||Where are you going?|
|Midge:||Out. I got a date with a lady. You know what a lady is? Ahh, how could ya. You know anything about sculpture? You know anything about the opera? Nah, all you know how to do is spend money, huh. So, so long Gracie. I gotta be going.|
|Grace:||I'm going with you and your not going to shake me now.|
|Midge:||Yes, I am. You dumped me once. Now I'm dumping you,..for good. You better promote yourself another meal ticket.|
|Grace:||Oh, no Midge. Maybe it was that way in the beginning but now now. Not anymore.
It's the first time in my life. Please, Midge, I'll do anything.
|Midge:||Why don't you call up Johnny Dunn.|
|Grace:||Alright! I'll make the biggest stink that ever smelled in this town.|
|Midge:||Oh no, your gonna be a good little girl. Cause if your not. I'll put you in the hospital for a long, long time. [soft punch to the chin] I gotta change now. But don't be here when I come out.|
Dedicated to his mission to be the best, Midge rises through the middleweight ranks and gets a shot at the championship title. But Midge's ambition, arrogance and stubborness keeps him from "throwing" a match (for which he is beaten badly by mob enforcers). But Midge soon plays ball with the syndicate and grows more corrupt with each day.
Unhappy with the way Midge is conducting his life, his brother, Connie Kelly condemns his unscrupulous brother, when his cries, "You stink! You stink with corruption. You’re worse than a murderer. You’re a grave robber."
Midge eventually becomes Chanpion of the World, but his lifestyle of women and excess begins to destroy his physical body and his spiritual soul. Wanting to get back in the ring, a demoralized Midge begins a rigorous training schedule (ala "Rocky") and he regains his boxing crown and his status as a boxing Champion. This time around with the help of some true and loyal friends.
Note: The movie tagline: "This is the only sport in the world where two guys get paid for doing something they'd be arrested for if they got drunk and did it for nothing."
Actor Hal March, who played a mob enforcer who punishs Midge Kelly for not "throwing" a fight in the film, later became the host of the popular TV quiz show THE $64,000 QUESTION (1955-57) that became embroiled in the "Quiz Show Scandal" controversy of the late 1950s when it was discovered that contestants on the game show were given advance information to the questions on the program.