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Body and Soul

Screening on Film
Recently Restored
Directed by Robert Rossen.
With John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks.
US, 1947, 35mm, black & white, 104 min.
Print source: UCLA

Twice denied the lead role of working class boxer in Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy, Rossen’s longtime friend John Garfield slips into his customized character like a glove. Both former boxers, he and Rossen found themselves at home in the dodgy, grimy Prohibition-era New York of their youth where Charley Davis rises from the candy store counter to the world stage of an undefeated boxer – retaining an emotionally-pragmatic naiveté regarding the darker deals at play. Interlacing its larger moral questioning around a concerned ring of characters – including his slightly bohemian artist girlfriend, a dignified, principled mother and a loyal pal whose ethical maturation develops at the same rate that Charley’s declines – Body and Soul intricately details the physical and emotional casualties as Charley trades the economic binds of poverty for those of blind fortune.

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The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen

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