Golden Boy (film)

Golden Boy is an American feature film based on the play by Clifford Odets. It was produced in 1939 by Columbia Pictures and helped the protagonist William Holden breakthrough. In the U.S., he was released on 5 September 1939.


A promising young violinist in need of money faces the question of whether he earn money as a boxer, but there is risk of hand injury, or to give up the big money. His father, Mr. Bonaparte senior, hopes that their son further develops his musical talent, and buys him an expensive violin, but Joe Bonaparte persuaded the nearly bankrupt manager Tom Moody to let him make an attempt in the sport of boxing, and here rises quickly on. When he still wants to take a different decision to keep him on behalf of Lorna Moody's initially still in line. But after the gangster Eddie Fuseli has expressed a desire to participate in the profit or " to buy a piece of Joe", and after Joe has an opponent in the ring mortally wounded, to change both his and Lorna's setting. He retires from boxing and returned to his father and the music.


The play of the same name by Clifford Odets, who was then married to actress Luise Rainer, ran in the season 1937/38, with some success on Broadway and made a total of 250 performances. The film had Luther Adler and Frances Farmer. During the so-called road shows, that the tour of the play through the rest of the country Nancy Carroll took over the female lead, while among other things, Elia Kazan and John Garfield played the part of Joe.

With the purchase of film rights by Columbia Pictures also some changes in the storyline were accompanied. While the piece ends with the death of Joe in Lorna in a car accident, the studio demanded a happy ending. The anti-capitalism comments in the piece were taken out. Also, due to the strict censorship regulations of the time had the ratio of Lorna and Tom, who have a relationship in the play, are less clearly designed. Clifford Odets then refused to write the screenplay.

Far more difficult, however, was the cast of the film. For the female role of Lorna Moon, the tough woman from Newark Jean Arthur was first provided, however, refused. The second choice was Ann Sheridan, but Warner Brothers refused to hire the actress. At the end of Barbara Stanwyck took on the role and returned for the first time since 1933 and The Bitter Tea of ​​General Yen in the studio back, she had made ​​a star.

For the role of Joe Bonaparte total of 65 actors were tested or considered, including well-known names such as Robert Taylor and Tyrone Power. Studio boss Harry Cohn wanted to finally Richard Carlson involved, but whose commitment on Broadway prevented him to take over the role. It was finally Rouben Mamoulian, who campaigned for William Holden, who was previously seen only as an extra or in tiny supporting roles. Barbara Stanwyck took on the newcomer and practiced during the entire shoot very intensively with the inexperienced Holden role. She seated herself for him when the studio after two weeks, William Holden wanted to replace rotation time. Holden gave a very good presentation and signed a long-term contract with the studio. By the end of his life he sent every year on the day of the commencement of rotation of Golden Boy a large bouquet of roses to Stanwyck, to thank her for her help.


"After a socially critical stage play arisen melodrama with an individual knowledge and combines an indictment of the business with the sport of boxing conversion process. A inexpensively produced, tailored entirely to the solid acting actor movie, the remarkable intensity reached. "