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The Contender

The Contender(1944)

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Remind Me

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Determined that his son Mickey will have every advantage in life, widowed truck driver Gary Farrell enrolls the boy in an expensive military academy. To pay for Mickey's tuition, Gary decides to enter a boxing tournament in hopes of winning the $500 first prize. Pop Turner, a former fight manager who now works for Gary's trucking company as an athletic advisor, thinks that Gary has promise and begins to train him for the match. Biff, Gary's best friend and fellow truck driver, is dubious about his chances, but supports his decision. In Pop's office, Gary meets sports reporter Linda Martin, who becomes good friends with the boxer and his son. Upon winning the match, Gary attracts the attention of boxing manager Kip Morgan, who puts him under contract. Impressed by Gary's prowess, gold digger Rita Langdon also becomes interested in the boxer. Gary trains hard and wins several bouts until only boxer Bomber Brown stands between him and a match with the world champion. Bomber refuses to fight Gary until Linda connives to have the boxers get in an argument, and after Gary knocks Bomber down, Bomber challenges him to a match. Violating his training regimen, Gary buys Rita expensive gifts and stays out drinking all night. When Gary nevertheless wins the match, he becomes dangerously overconfident, and after the boxing commission suspends Gary for his drunken behavior, Kip dissolves their partnership. Having depleted the boxer's finances, Rita becomes bored with him and breaks off their relationship. In an attempt to bring Gary to his senses, Linda writes a nasty comment in her column, upsetting Mickey. When Linda convinces the boy that her criticism springs from concern, the two decide to confront Gary. Infuriated by their accusations, Gary slaps Mickey, sending him reeling to the floor. Angry, Linda takes the broken-hearted boy away with her. After Biff walks out on him, Gary finds himself friendless and drops out of sight, determined to fight his way back to the top. Using an assumed name, Gary loses fight after fight until Kip, Linda, Biff and Mickey finally track him down. With the conceit beaten out of him, Gary is finally content to have Mickey and Linda manage his life.