Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Golden Boy”

(Columbia. 1939/2007. B&W. Not Rated. 99 minutes. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian.) Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, William Holden, Lee J. Cobb, Joseph Calleia, Sam Levene.

Hit film version of Clifford Odets play was the first starring vehicle for Holden (young and beautiful, long before a hard-drinking lifestyle got to him). He was struggling with the part of a violinist-turned-boxer until Stanwyck insisted he not be fired; he claimed ever after that he owed his film career to her. Cobb (playing older than he was) hams it up as Holden’s Italian-immigrant dad, who wants his son to stick with music; veteran Menjou’s the married boxing promoter running around with Stanwyck; Levene has a few fun moments as the ne’er-do-well brother-in-law. Just forget about the probability of a violinist ever turning to boxing, and enjoy the melodrama. Extras include a cartoon parody, The Kangaroo Kid; a Ford Theatre episode from 1956, Sudden Silence (Stanwyck’s first dramatic TV appearance), original trailer, and more. One oddity: the cover photo of Stanwyck isn’t from the movie; it dates from the late ’40s.