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Raoul Walsh
Tyrone Power, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson
Writing Credits:
Vincent Lawrence, Horace McCoy

As bare-knuckled boxing enters the modern era, brash extrovert Jim Corbett uses new rules and dazzlingly innovative footwork to rise to the top of the top of the boxing world.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 12/12/2023

• Radio Broadcast
• 3 Vintage Cartoons
• Trailer


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Gentleman Jim [Blu-Ray] (1942)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 17, 2024)

Based on its cover art and title, one would assume 1942’s Gentleman Jim offers a romantic drama about high society. Instead, it offers a biopic about a famous 19th century pugilist.

In San Francisco circa the 1880s, boxing remains illegal. Some aristocratic fans attempt to rehabilitate the sport and give it a more “gentlemanly” impression.

As such, they sponsor handsome young bank clerk Jim Corbett (Tyrone Power) as the one to popularize boxing and its new Marquis of Queensbury Rules. While Jim indeed becomes a success, his brash ways rub some of his benefactors the wrong way and create conflicts.

As implied earlier, one look at this Blu-ray’s cover – which reproduces the film’s theatrical poster – implies that Jim will focus heavily on romance. Indeed, the art in no way hints at the boxing aspects of the story.

I can’t accuse Jim of false advertising, as it does show a love story. Corbett woos beautiful socialite Victoria Ware (Alexia Smith).

That becomes a sporadic focus here but not quite dominant. Actually, I find it hard to locate any true plot emphasis, as Jim flits around in terms of story.

Granted, Corbett’s boxing career acts as the through-line, but the film tends to act more as a collection of semi-connected scenes instead of a coherent narrative. We follow the loose thread of Corbett’s rise to fame and the lesser theme of his connection to Victoria, but we don’t find a particularly tight tale.

This makes Jim an erratic confection, but it still manages to deliver a fairly entertaining one. As a reasonably light mix of comedy, boxing and romance, it passes painlessly.

Despite a relatively brief 105-minute running time, Jim does feel a bit long. It seems too fluffy to fully hold us across that span, so expect to get a little impatient along the way.

But only a little, as the film brings enough panache to occupy us most of the time. That said, Power seems like something of a mixed bag as our lead. On one hand, his mix of good looks and charisma ensure he offers a lively take on the role.

However, Power never seems quite as brash and arrogant as the part appears to demand. We often hear about how obnoxious Corbett behaves but Power doesn’t deliver that tone.

Still, Power’s charm helps carry the day, and the movie’s brisk pace allows it to fare well enough. Though technically a biopic, Jim feels more than slightly fictionalized, as it doesn’t boast a spirit that gives it an especially realistic vibe.

Ultimately, Gentleman Jim delivers a mostly likable piece of fluff. Nothing about it quite excels, but it does enough right to ensure we largely enjoy the ride.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Gentleman Jim appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness in a couple of wider shots. Most of the film boasted fine delineation and accuracy.

Neither jaggies nor moiré effects impacted the proceedings, and the presence of light grain meant it seemed unlikely that prominent digital noise reduction came into play. Edge haloes remained absent and I saw no print flaws.

Blacks seemed deep and rich, while contrast gave the movie a fine silvery sheen. Low-light shots brought us nice smoothness and clarity. This turned into a more than satisfactory image.

I also thought the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack worked fine for its age. Speech appeared a little brittle but the lines stayed intelligible and lacked edginess or obvious concerns.

Music appeared peppy enough, and effects followed suit. These elements didn’t pack a punch but they sounded clean and without distortion. This turned into a more than acceptable soundtrack for an older film.

As we head to extras, we find three animated shorts from 1942. These include The Dover Boys of Pimento University (8:58), Foney Fables (8:13) and Hobby Horse-Laffs (6:41).

Horse-Laffs offers a semi-rarity, as it brings us a black and white Looney Tunes reel. It features oddballs with unusual pursuits and seems more cute than funny.

Dover looks at stalwart brothers who protect a lovely lady at college. With a fun parody of turn-of-the-20th-century society, it works.

Finally, Foney spoofs fairy tales. Like Horse-Laffs, it also comes across more as cute than hilarious, but it boasts some good moments.

As a footnote, Mel Blanc uses voices suspiciously similar to those of Bugs and Daffy for a couple characters.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with a Screen Guild Radio Broadcast. Aired 2/14/1944, it runs 29 minutes, 38 seconds and features Errol Flynn in place of Tyrone Power, but Alexis Smith and Ward Bond reprise their movie roles.

Because it crams a 104-minute film into roughly 25 minutes of air time, the radio Jim obviously pares the narrative to the bone. It makes sense – barely – but seems so superficial that it loses a lot of character notes.

Still, it proves mildly entertaining. After all, the film itself runs too long, so while the radio adaptation goes too far in the other direction, at least it doesn’t wear out its welcome.

A loose biopic, Gentleman Jim fails to deliver a genuinely memorable tale. Nonetheless, it brings an amiable mix of drama, comedy and romance. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio along with a decent mix of bonus materials. This winds up as a likeable little flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
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