Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Champion (1949)
(2021 Restoration)


Starring: Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Maxwell and Arthur Kennedy
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Click here to buy - Eureka

Certificate: PG
Release Date: 06 December 2021

Michael "Midge" Kelly is a boxer whose fight to the top is unhampered by ethics or gratitude. A hero to his fans, his friends know him to be a selfish egomaniac who allows nothing to stand in his way. After winning a fight he was supposed to throw, Mike's life is threatened by the mob, and he is only saved through the intervention of a woman who becomes yet another pawn in his climb up the ladder. Ultimately, he is forced to re-enter the ring and confront his biggest opponent... himself...

Eureka release 1949's The Champion in 1080p on Blu-ray. Championed by many cinema historians as the greatest boxing movie ever released, The Champion is a beautiful mix of both the film noir and boxing genres.

The movie was Kirk Douglas's eighth film and is seen as the picture which really kick started his career as one of Hollywood's most bankable leading men.

The character of Michael "Midge" Kelly is not a likeable one. As the movie progresses we see that he only ever really cares about himself. But the audience is sympathetic, in part, to his actions because much of it seems to be taken out of his hands.

Extras include a new audio commentary by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney, a Stills Gallery, optional English SDH subtitles and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Richard Combs; and a piece on boxing in cinema by author / screenwriter S. B. Caves.

The cinematography is impressive and the fight sequences are totally believable. The audio commentary is particularly interesting, with Ney setting the film in historical context. It was also surprising to learn that Douglas was knocked out in one scene where a boxer's punch was misjudged and landed quite heavily.

Historically this is an important movie, but as pure entertainment it still packs a punch.


Nick Smithson

Buy this item online