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Gentleman Jim (1942)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 14 November 1942 (USA)
1:44 | Trailer
As bareknuckled 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.


Raoul Walsh


Vincent Lawrence (screen play), Horace McCoy (screen play) | 1 more credit »



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Complete credited cast:
Errol Flynn ... James J. Corbett
Alexis Smith ... Victoria Ware
Jack Carson ... Walter Lowrie
Alan Hale ... Pat Corbett
John Loder ... Carlton De Witt
William Frawley ... Billy Delaney
Minor Watson ... Buck Ware
Ward Bond ... John L. Sullivan
Madeleine Lebeau ... Anna Held (as Madeleine LeBeau)
Rhys Williams ... Harry Watson
Arthur Shields ... Father Burke
Dorothy Vaughan ... Ma Corbett


Because boxing is a considered an illegal and disreputable enterprise in 1880's San Francisco, wealthy and influential members of the prestigious Olympic Club vow to make the sport a "gentlemanly" one. They sponsor a brash, extroverted young bank clerk named Jim Corbett, who quickly becomes an accomplished fighter under the new Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Despite his success, the young Irish-American's social pretensions and boastful manner soon estrange him from his benefactors, who plot to give their conceited former protégé a well-deserved comeuppance. Despite this, his dazzlingly innovative footwork helps him to beat a succession of bigger and stronger men, and he finally finds himself fighting for the world's championship against his childhood idol, John L. Sullivan. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The grandest story of the Naughty "Nineties" becomes the gayest picture of the Fighting "Forties!"


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Release Date:

14 November 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der freche Kavalier See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Raoul Walsh originally wanted Barry Fitzgerald for Corbett's father and suggested Ann Sheridan and Rita Hayworth for the romantic lead. See more »


In the bank the day after the first fight (and their arrest with the bank director for attending it), Corbett (Flynn) and Lowrie (Carson) decide they should resign preemptively, rather than wait to be fired. However, Corbett gets a raise instead and returns from his boss's office to tell his pal Lowrie about it. As he talks, he's counting a stack of "money" of which only the top and bottom sheets appear genuine. The other "notes" are all blank sheets of paper. See more »


James J. Corbett aka Gentleman Jim: If I get lost, I'll send up a rocket.
Victoria Ware: It wouldn't surprise me.
See more »


Referenced in Seven Days in May (1964) See more »


Dear Old Donegal
Traditional Irish folk song
Sung and Danced by Alan Hale and others
See more »

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User Reviews

Flynn's Favorite Role, in Boxing Classic!
3 October 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

GENTLEMAN JIM, Errol Flynn's last film of 1942, the year that saw his tempestuous personal life become public, was one of his greatest successes, and his personal favorite, as well. In the story of the 'father' of modern boxing, James J. Corbett, loosely based on the boxer's autobiography, the actor a had a chance to display a favorite hobby (Flynn was quite good, and had an off-screen habit of goading bar patrons into fights, just to 'show off' his skills), as well as play a character closer to his own flamboyant personality than the heroic cavaliers he had been 'typed' as, for nearly a decade.

The 'favorite son' in a brawling blue-collar family (Alan Hale, his friend and frequent co-star, portrays his father), Corbett has aspirations far beyond his job as a lowly bank clerk, and 'uses' socialite Victoria Ware (Alexis Smith) to get into the prestigious 'Olympic Club'. The snobbish members of the club, offended by his enormous ego, talk him into a 'little boxing exhibition' with a European champion. Expecting to see the young man flattened, Victoria and the millionaires are stunned when, displaying fancy footwork and natural skills, Corbett knocks out the professional. A drunken brawl at a post-fight social event lands Corbett and friend Walter Lowrie (Jack Carson) in Salt Lake City, penniless. Boxing provides a means to buy train tickets home, and the realization that, through pugilism, he can 'break into' society. A legendary career is thus begun...

Boxing, at the turn of the century, was a far more brutal sport than today, with the fighters seldom wearing gloves, and the fights running 30 rounds, or more, yet Corbett scores victory after victory, without a scar on his handsome face. Becoming a celebrity, he even stars in a popular stage show, dressed in a top hat and tails, and quoting Shakespeare, taking advantage of his nickname, 'Gentleman Jim'. While Victoria professes hating his cockiness, she feels drawn to him, although he has a way of always saying the wrong thing!

Meanwhile, in another stage show, the World Boxing Champion, legendary John L. Sullivan (Ward Bond, in one of his greatest screen roles), jumps rope and displays his prodigious strength to his adoring fans. Corbett goads the older man, constantly, finally forcing the champ to meet him in the ring. In an epic bout that would test both men's endurance, Sullivan 'meets his match', and Corbett learns humility...

Director Raoul Walsh obviously enjoyed working with Flynn (this was their third of eight teamings), and the actor felt far more comfortable with him than Michael Curtiz, whom he despised, despite their star-making work together. GENTLEMAN JIM was the best collaboration between Walsh and Flynn, and the film accurately captures the 'feel' of the era, striking a perfect balance of humor and drama. It, unfortunately, also marked the last major 'peak' in Flynn's Warner Brothers career; despite good reviews and box office, the WB, anticipating a public backlash over Flynn's highly-publicized rape trial, would move him into a series of war films, gradually lowering the quality of his productions.

The halcyon years for Errol Flynn were, sadly, coming to an end, even as he savored his greatest personal triumph...

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