alr

Golden Boy

Screening on Film
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian.
With Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, William Holden.
US, 1939, 35mm, black & white, 99 min.
Print source: Sony Pictures

William Holden’s first starring role throws him headfirst into a contentious boxing ring, up against a series of formidable challenges—including a father who wants him to save his hands for the violin; a mob boss who promises fame and fortune at an ethical price; and the fluctuating heartstrings of Barbara Stanwyck’s enigmatic, world-weary pragmatist. In the most noir corners of Mamoulian’s adaptation of Clifford Odets’ play, the dialogue comes as sharp and fast as the punches, while “golden” Joe Bonaparte encounters ever-deepening moral, artistic and existential dilemmas. Despite the full-bodied melodrama faltering in its clichéd characterizations of Lee J. Cobb’s handwringing Italian patriarch and Joseph Calleia’s ominous gangster, Golden Boy maintains a tense, tormented excitement and delivers—in romantic, Mamoulian fashion—at least two cynical souls who cannot escape the heart’s innocence. 

Part of program

Read more

Rouben Mamoulian, Reconsidered

Current and upcoming programs

Read more

Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.