Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on July 31, 2012
In 1946, John Garfield’s contract with Warner Brothers expired. Instead of re-signing, or moving to another studio, Garfield signed on with the independent Enterprise Productions. Bringing together a group of artists who were communists, or communist sympathizers, Enterprise made an inflammatory group of nine films before folding, after which many of its members were blacklisted, including directors Robert Rossen and Abraham Polonsky. Two of their features, Body and Soul (1947) and Force of Evil (1948), respectively, ended up in the Republic Pictures library, and are being released today on Blu-Ray from Olive Films, in strong transfers. Garfield was eager to make a statement with Enterprise, telling PM Magazine in this period that:
Posted by Susan Doll on March 12, 2012
Years ago I was a student of art history at Ohio State University where I discovered the boxing paintings of Thomas Eakins in a class on American art. Eakins, who broke with academic conventions and elitist views of art, pushed toward a realism that actually offended sensibilities of the era. What fascinated me about the three paintings was the way they revealed the social history of the period, especially in regard to class. The paintings, Taking the Count, Between Rounds, and Salutat, were completed in the 1890s during the Gilded Age, when an increasingly industrialized economy was dominated by ultra-rich robber barons who depended on and often exploited the immigrant and working classes for labor. The differences between the classes is depicted in Between Rounds by the physical distance between them: The working class and immigrants watch the fight in the cheap seats high above and far away from the middle and upper classes on the floor or in the boxes. Fighter Billy Smith rests in the corner of the ring as his second Billy McCarney fans him with a towel, and manager Ellwood McCloskey offers encouragement. Smith’s neck and face are suntanned and ruddy while his body and legs look pale, revealing Smith to be an outdoor laborer during the regular work week. As a boxer at The Arena in Philadelphia, Smith displays the physicality and skill that is admired by the very classes who employ and exploit him during the workweek. And through boxing, Smith is attempting to advance his position in society and make something of himself with the only path open to him and the only tool available—his body.
Studying boxing in relation to social class as reflected in Eakins’s trilogy of paintings gave me a respect for the sport. Boxing—a mano e mano competition in which minimally clad contestants beat each other for money—doesn’t try to mask its brutality as do other popular competitive sports. There’s no ball, sticks, hoops, or pucks to hide behind; no pretense that spectators are watching for the finer points of “the game.” There is no equipment in the arena other than the boxers’ own bodies and no protective gear beyond the padded gloves. It’s simply brutal; that’s why spectators watch and that’s why it’s not the sport of kings.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
Popular terms3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Fan Edits Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs Guest Programmers HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Leadership Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Magazines Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals New Releases Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Russian Film Industry Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Spaghetti Westerns Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival Tearjerkers Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood The Russians in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies