Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Top Billed Actors: Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich
IMDb Rating: 7.3
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 2 Oscars:
Best Actor - Wallace Beery
Best Writing (Story) - Frances Marion
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Director - King Vidor
Plot: A drunk gambling boxer raises a kid, for whom he buys a race horse.
The chemistry between these two actors is undeniable. Although Cooper has indicated he did not enjoy filming with Beery, they did seem to set aside their differences in order to achieve great sequences of acting. The adoration Cooper's character had for Beery's is touching throughout the movie. Cooper portrays that with unparalleled child acting talent. I actually enjoyed Cooper's performance more than the Academy Award winning performance of Beery. The story was also a winner on Awards night, and deservedly so. It keeps a solid pace that shows the ups and downs of a single father raising a child. The viewer feels for how Beery tries to provide for his son as well as cringe when he relapses into poor fatherly behavior.
Although Beery won his Oscar for this performance, I did not find it all too deserving. He portrays his character similarly to his roles in The Big House (1930) and Min and Bill (1930) as the dumb and oblivious man who can also be charming. It is much of the same old, same old with his style of acting and it did not push any boundaries in his work. The acting by the lead woman, Irene Rich, was also sub par, even for the time. I also wish there was more music. This, like many films of its time, seemed rather quiet.
Overall, this movie is an interesting take on the father-son relationship in hard times. The story progresses nicely, but the acting by the entire ensemble is not excellent nor is the lack of music.
My Score: 5/10