Gentleman Jim

Warner Home Video

Errol Flynn stars as the 19th-century heavyweight-boxing champion James J. Corbett in the utterly engaging 1942 biopic Gentleman Jim, directed by the always underrated Raoul Walsh and newly released to DVD as the pearl in the five-disc Errol Flynn Signature Collection: Vol. 2. Based on Corbett’s autobiography and loosely based—if at all—on Corbett’s actual life, the film charts his meteoric, force-of-will rise from a meager South San Francisco upbringing to life among the Nob Hill swells and overnight success in the boxing ring. Gentleman Jim might be about as historically reliable as Rocky III, but it’s also as unabashedly entertaining—Walsh keeps the pace crisp and the action boisterous. Flynn is as dashing in the ring as he is with the blade, and he actually makes a credible boxer.