"Champion" is an extraordinarily grim and intense study of a man already corrupted by an insatiable need to dominate. Seldom has a Hollywood film from this period had so tortured a figure at its center. It is to Kirk Douglas' credit that, because of his performance as Midge, the viewer doesn't hate the character, and is able to feel compassion. Also of note in the cast is the always excellent Arthur Kennedy as the Midge's brother, whose physical handicap mirrors the emotional one of his sibling. Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman add to the films effect in memorable supporting roles. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for its beautiful deep and dark cinematography. And the score is one of Tiomkin's more subtle creations. Often ignored by film noir enthusiasts, "Champion" fine blending of intense drama, ensemble acting and virtuoso cinematography.
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