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Golden Boy Details


Director Rouben Mamoulian often claimed that he'd been inspired to make Rouben Mamoulian after reading a newspaper clipping about a recently deceased boxer. While Mamoulian may have genuinely believed that he was the true "auteur" of Rouben Mamoulian, he probably wouldn't have made the picture at all had not Clifford Odets started the ball rolling by writing the property for the stage in 1936. In his first starring role, William Holden plays Joe Bonaparte, a promising young boxer. While boxing promoter Tom Moody (Adolphe Menjou) and Menjou's mistress Lorna Moon (Barbara Stanwyck) urge Joe to pursue a ring career, Joe's Italian father (played with a surfeit of Chico Marx by 27-year-old Lee J. Cobb) wants his boy to become a famous violinist. Moody tells Lorna to romance the boy to get him into the ring. She does so, but regrets her callous actions when she genuinely falls in love with Joe. Having already broken his father's heart, Joe is further devastated when he accidentally kills a ring opponent. In the original play, both Joe and Lorna pay for their "sins" by dying in an auto accident. This would never do in Hollywood, so at fadeout time the chastened Joe returns to his forgiving father, with a tearful Lorna by his side. Clifford Odets' overrated purple prose seems to flow naturally from the actors, though it is obvious that William Holden had a long way to go. Still, Holden is pretty good in his first bonafide lead, a fact that he would ever after attribute to the patience and encouragement of his co-star Barbara Stanwyck; each year on the anniversary of Rouben Mamoulian's Hollywood premiere, Holden would send Stanwyck flowers as a sign of his eternal gratitude. While much of Rouben Mamoulian seems like a cliche-ridden museum piece when seen today, the film comes to life during the boxing sequences, helmed in exciting montage fashion by the always innovative Rouben Mamoulien. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Victor Young Best Original Score 1939 Nominee


Barbara Stanwyck
as Lorna Moon
Adolphe Menjou
as Tom Moody
Lee J. Cobb
as Mr. Bonaparte
Joseph Calleia
as Eddie Fuseli
Sam Levene
as Siggie
Edward S. Brophy
as Roxy Lewis
Beatrice Blinn
as Anna
William Strauss
as Mr. Carp
Don Beddoe
as Borneo
William Holden
as Joe Bonaparte
Minerva Urecal
as Costumer
George Lloyd
as Gambler
Mickey Golden
Harry Tyler
as Mickey
Charles Sherlock
Don Brodie
Clinton Rosemond
as Father
Dora Clement
Charles Lane
as Drake
Howard Da Silva
as Man in audience with Siggie
Bruce Mitchell
as Guard
Stanley Andrews
as Driscoll
Charles Halton
as Newspaperman
Charles Sullivan
as Referee
Lee Phelps
as Announcer
Robert Sterling
as Elevator Boy
Sid Saylor
Eddie Fetherstone
as Wilson
Landers Stevens
Frank Jenks
as Pepper White


Rouben Mamoulian
William Perlberg
Daniel Taradash
Clifford Odets
Play Author
Victor Heerman
Karl W. Freund
Nick Musuraca
Morris W. Stoloff
Musical Direction/Supervision
Victor Young
Composer (Music Score)
Otto Meyer
Robert Kalloch
Costume Designer