Monday, September 5, 2011

Joyce in Kid Galahad (1937)

Kid Galahad is something of a gangster/boxing/romantic melodrama mishmash that somehow works thanks to the assured direction of Michael Curtiz and a phalanx of regulars from the Warner Bros. acting stable. Edward G. Robinson stars as a tough boxing manager with Bette Davis as his longtime gal. The two take notice of a swift-handed hotel bellhop (Wayne Morris) and groom him into a boxing ring champ. Davis' character Fluff finds herself romantically drawn to Morris, but Morris winds up taking a shine to Robinson's kid sister (Jane Bryan). This angers the protective Robinson so much that he decides to engineer a fight sure to put the young pugilist in a body cast. While the script ventures into overly familiar territory, this film ends up being a winner due to great work by Robinson and Davis, along with several stirring, realistic fight scenes.

Joyce Compton appears about 20 minutes into the film as a hanger-on at the huge party thrown in Edward G. Robinson's hotel suite. She plays a daffy blonde placing a long distance telephone call to Atlanta, a one-sided conversation that gets interrupted by prankster Robinson. It's a brief, funny bit.

A solidly entertaining title but not the first thing one thinks of with Davis or Robinson, Kid Galahad has had a spotty home video history. After decades of TV purgatory under the silly title The Battling Bellhop, it was issued on VHS in the '90s (with its real title restored!). The movie then made its DVD bow on the Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4 in 2008. The DVD itself is a nifty package with vintage shorts, trailers and audio commentary. The set can be purchased at here.

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