Iron Man


1h 22m 1951

Brief Synopsis

In Coaltown, Pennsylvania, miner Coke Mason hopes to better himself, buy a radio store, and marry Rose Warren. His gambler brother George thinks Coke can be more successful as a boxer, knowing that when he fights he's consumed with a murderous rage that makes him an "iron man." Seeing dollar signs in Rose's eyes, Coke reluctantly agrees, though he's fearful of the "killer instinct" that makes him a knockout success in the ring...and brings him the booing hatred of the fans. Will Coke throw off his personal demon before he kills someone?

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1951
Premiere Information
World premiere in Pittsburgh, PA: 17 Aug 1951; New York opening: 17 Aug 1951; Los Angeles opening: 18 Aug 1951
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Iron Man by William Riley Burnett (New York, 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

At the start of the heavyweight championship boxing match, the fans boo at title holder Coke Mason, as his estranged wife Rose bitterly recalls the circumstances that brought them to this day: Coke works as a miner and Rose as a store clerk in Coal Town, Pennsylvania. Coke saves all his money so they can marry and open a radio store to escape their hated jobs and the stifling small town. When fellow miner Alex repeatedly picks fights with Coke, Coke's older brother George encourages the two to box. Alex dominates the match until the ordinarily composed Coke becomes enraged and beats him viciously. Frightened by his own brutality, Coke vows never to fight again. Days later, Alex uses too much dynamite to blast a hole in the mine and the roof collapses. George heads the rescue effort and works throughout the night to rescue the men. Later, at the hospital, after she overhears George urging Coke to give up low-paying, dangerous mining work for boxing, Rose convinces Coke that if he boxes for only one year they will have enough money to open their shop. Coke begins to train with his pal, Tommy "Speed" O'Keefe. During his first fight, Coke again is foundering until he becomes incensed and pummels his opponent, causing the crowd to boo him for what they see as dirty fighting. Over the next few months, Coke continues to win in the same manner and the crowds grow to despise him. Max Watkins, an esteemed sports writer, reports that Coke is murderous and should not be allowed to fight. Coke despairs over the crowd's animosity, but as the money pours in, Rose and George encourage him to keep fighting until one day they watch as he is badly beaten in a fight with champion Jackie Savella. Realizing that he is not a skilled fighter, only a brutal one, they urge him to quit, but Coke has grown cold and insists on proving to the fans that he is a champ. Soon, while Speed begins to fight his own matches and gains a reputation as a beloved, clean fighter, Coke grows more despised and bitter. At a party, George and Herb Riley, Savella's manager, recognize that during the upcoming Mason-Savella fight, the boxers will destroy each other, either because of Savella's skill or Coke's rage. Hoping to avoid this, George convinces Rose to pay all their savings to Riley in exchange for Savella taking a dive. After Coke wins the fight, however, Max is suspicious and calls for an investigation. The hearing convinces Coke that Rose and George have no faith in his skill, and he punches both Rose and Speed and storms out. Weeks later, Coke, still estranged from Rose and George, tells Max that he is the only person he can trust. Coke reveals that as a child, he was always taunted and forced to fight for his life, an experience he cannot now shake. Max agrees to manage him but instructs Coke that he must learn to take humiliation without wanting to kill his opponent. Soon, Coke wins the heavyweight championship, and the only fighter he has yet to compete against is Speed, who has become a close contender for the title. When Rose learns that the two are scheduled to fight, she berates Max, who explains to her that this fight will be Coke's ultimate challenge and may force him to grow up. Back in the present, Rose watches nervously as the fight begins. During the match, the fans and reporters stir when they realize that Coke is not fighting dirty. The competition is fierce, but in the last round Speed wins. George rushes to Coke's side, and as he helps the fighter leave the ring, the crowd slowly rises to its feet in a standing ovation. When Rose runs to Coke, he embraces her while the fans cheer.

Cast

Jeff Chandler

Coke Mason

Evelyn Keyes

Rose Mason

Stephen Mcnally

George Mason

Rock Hudson

Tommy "Speed" O'Keefe

Joyce Holden

Tiny

Jim Backus

Max Watkins

Jim Arness

Alex

Steve Martin

Jackie Savella

Paul Javor

Pete

Eddie Simms

Jackie Bowden

George Baxter

Herb Riley

Raymond Gray

Jo Jo Meyers

Walter "whitey" Ekwert

Whitey

John Maxwell

Dr. Rowan

Larry J. Blake

Ralph Crowley

Ken Patterson

Herb Daly

Herbert Vigran

Melio

Peter Scott

Nick Norsworski

Gene Wesson

Sportswriter

Taylor Reed

Sportswriter

Bruce Riley

Sportswriter

Johnny Call

Mike Durant

Steve Roberts

Brad Morris

Bob Evans

Loomis

Frank Marlowe

Trainer

Charles Sullivan

Referee of championship fight

James Lennon

Announcer

Howard Mitchell

Announcer

Tommy Marr

Announcer

Barbara Ann Knudson

Girl

Ann Zika

Girl

Sherry Moreland

Girl

Gregg Sherwood

Gwendolyn

Harry Cording

Foreman

Frankie Van

Referee

Larry Mcgrath

Referee

Tommy Herman

Referee

Rube Schaefer

Referee

Emil Hanna

Miner

Ethan Laidlaw

Miner

Larry Winter

Miner

George Berkeley

Miner

George Khoury

Miner

Peter Similuk

Miner

Michael Cisney

Jack Mane

Cy Ring

Headwaiter

Henry Corden

Gambler

John Indrisano

Chicago arena referee

Mushy Callahan

Allentown arena referee

Joe Mcturk

Big Nose Cassidy

Ned Roberts

Railroad worker

Joe Rocca

Writer

Donald Kerr

Writer

Alan Marston

Writer

George Brand

Writer

Harold Bostwick

Commentator

Frank Moran

Handler

George Adrian

Charlie

Michael Dale

Philly

William Marks

Reporter

Joan Wrae

Tillie

Doris Cole

Billie

John Mckee

Spectator

John Carpenter

Spectator

Eleanor Bassett

Cigarette girl

William O'brien

Waiter

Larry Carper

Fighter

Stu Wilson

Carl Sklover

Gloria Ann Simpson

Al Rhein

Mike Portanova

Felice Richmond

Pepito Perez

Art Dupuis

Joy Hallward

Elmo Lincoln

Sally Yarnell

Mike Lally

Charles Sherlock

Peggy Leon

Doug Carter

Wally Walker

Jack Daley

John Nikcevich

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1951
Premiere Information
World premiere in Pittsburgh, PA: 17 Aug 1951; New York opening: 17 Aug 1951; Los Angeles opening: 18 Aug 1951
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Iron Man by William Riley Burnett (New York, 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Barbara Ann Knudson made her feature film debut in Iron Man. Frankie Van, a former prize fighter, portrayed a referee and acted as technical advisor in the picture. Director Joseph Pevney had previously acted in the 1947 Roberts Productions boxing film Body and Soul (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). According to a January 1951 Los Angeles Daily News article, Pevney copied some of the camera tricks from that film, including the use of a hand-held Eyemo camera for the fight scenes. Although Hollywood Reporter news items add Scottie Beal, Gorilla Jones and Abie Bain to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Universal had previously used William Riley Burnett's novel as the basis for the 1937 picture Some Blondes Are Dangerous, directed by Milton Carruth and starring Noah Beery (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40).