The Miracle Kid (November 14, 1941)

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The Big Bluff

Released on November 14, 1941: Al Bolger is the publicity man for two competing businesses, and the owners of the two businesses used to be married to each other, but they cannot stand each other today.

Directed by William Beaudine

The Actors: Tom Neal (Jimmy Conley), Carol Hughes (Pat Hilton), Vickie Lester (Helen Gibbs), Betty Blythe (Madame Gloria), Ben Taggart (J. Hamilton Gibbs), Alex Callam (Al Bolger), Thornton Edwards (Pedro), Joe Gray (Kayo Kane), Paul Bryar (Rocco), Pat Gleason (reporter), Billy McGowan (Tiger O'Brien), John Ince (commissioner), Gene O'Donnell (usher), Warren Jackson (headwaiter), Larry McGrath (referee), Sam Lufkin (referee), Minta Durfee (Pheney), Gertrude Messinger (Marge), Adele Smith (Lorraine), Frank Otto (Shady), Harry Leroy (boxing spectator).

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Have I ever said that lots of men get really stupid when they are near a pretty girl? Maybe I should say 'naive' instead of 'stupid?' Naw, 'stupid' is the word. Anyway, pop your white kernel popcorn in a pan on top of the stove (none of that awful microwave corn now, try the good stuff) and drizzle plenty of melted butter on it and enjoy a feel-good chick flick that boys and girls will both enjoy. We are mixing pretty young girls with tough stud-muffin boxers in a comedy about love and business and, thank goodness, one of the pretty girls has some brains as well as good looks, or our boy would be in more trouble than ever!

Here's the setup: We have two businesses owned by a fellow and a gal that used to be married. He runs a health operation, teaching people to have better health by eating fruits and nuts and salads. She runs a mental clinic . . . no, not a nut house, but a 'mind over matter' thinking operation. And they both have hired the same publicity man to help build their business. Now here is where it starts to get interesting and complicated. The fruit and nuts fellow hires a young boxer to work for him as a health promoter, and he has a young girlfriend who works for the mental powers gal nearby. Jimmy, the young boxer, has promised to stop boxing because his girlfriend Pat doesn't want to marry a boxer. Jimmy's boss decides to have a beauty contest to select the perfect female model for his health diet business, and his ex-wife's best employee at the think-and-grow-healthy business Pat, Jimmy's girlfriend, enters the contest and wins the modelling contract.

Next Jimmy is in the ring for his final fight, after which he will retire from fighting and live happily ever after with Pat. But he wins that fight, and the loser tries to alibi his loss by claiming that Jimmy put a mental hex on him when he looked at him. The papers get hold of it, and Jimmy becomes famous as the' mental hex' boxer, The Miracle Kid. But Jimmy has promised not to fight any more. Not to worry, the publicity man is playing both ends against the middle, so he breaks up Jimmy and Pat by inserting a pretty blonde who has eyes for Jimmy, and he gets his boxer. Pat, the girl with brains and a body, goes on her publicity tour for the health nut business, leaving Jimmy to fight a series of fights that are rigged to allow him to continue winning, thanks to his mental power of hexing the competition.

There's a lot more to the tale, with plenty of sub-plots mixed in, but you get the idea. We are in for a delicious roller coaster of emotions and misunderstandings until Pat comes to her senses and figures out a way to get her stupid boxing man back again.

Oh, and one more thing . . . pay attention to the secretary of the old fellow that has the fruit and nuts diet business - she is Minta Durfee, who made lots of silent comedies with Charlie Chaplin in 1914 - She was a pretty young thing back in her day . . . check it out for yourself! Minta Durfee movies >>>