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The Square Ring

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Square Ring
"The Square Ring" (1953).jpg
Directed byBasil Dearden
Written byRobert Westerby
additional dialogue
Peter Myers
Alec Grahame
Based onthe play by Ralph Peterson
Produced byMichael Relph
Michael Balcon
CinematographyOtto Heller
Edited byPeter Bezencenet
Music byDock Mathieson
Distributed byGFD (UK)
Release date
  • 13 July 1953 (1953-07-13) (UK)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Square Ring is a 1953 British tragi-comic drama, directed by Basil Dearden and made at Ealing Studios. It stars Jack Warner, Robert Beatty and Bill Owen. The film, based on a stage play by Ralph Peterson, centres on one night at a fairly seedy boxing venue and tells the disparate stories of the fighters and the women behind them.


Six stories that take place mainly in the locker room prior to and after various bouts during a single evening at a cheap boxing stadium: ex-champion Kid Curtis (the Docker Starkie role in the original play) attempting a comeback; Eddie Lloyd, a former amateur boxer making his professional debut; ‘Happy’ Burns a chirpy lightweight; Rick Martell, a crooked fighter planning to throw a fight; Whitey Johnson, a punch drunk ‘has-been’; and Rowdie Rawlings, a simple heavyweight. Danny Felton is the experienced ex-pro dressing room attendant.



The play debuted in October 1952 and was immediately successful. Film rights were bought by Michael Balcon at Ealing. In November 1952 he announced John Mills would star, with Basil Dearden to direct and Michael Relph to produce.[1] Relph later said he was reluctant to make the film as he felt box movies were bad box office.[2]

Eventually Mills dropped out and was replaced by Canadian actor Robert Beatty.[3] He had no boxing experience so he trained for two weeks with Dave Crowley in preparation for the role.[4]

The play was all male but three women were added to the film.[5] The women included Kay Kendall and Joan Collins, who were both under contract to Rank. Kendall had just made Genevieve but it had not been released. Collins appeared opposite then husband Maxwell Reed.[6]


Critical reception was mixed.[7] One review called the film "uneven", accusing it of "veering between comedy and tragedy".[8]


  1. ^ "Adelaide man's play to be filmed – John Mills to star". The News. Vol. 59, no. 9, 142. South Australia. 26 November 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 8 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2003). British Cinema of The 1950s The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press USA. p. 68.
  3. ^ "Robert Beatty in boxing picture". The Mail. Vol. 42, no. 2, 121. South Australia. 31 January 1953. p. 3 (SUNDAY MAGAZINE). Retrieved 8 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Film May End A 50-Year Jinx". The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 21 June 1953. p. 14. Retrieved 10 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Good Morning!". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 4 November 1954. p. 2. Retrieved 19 May 2020 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "Phillip to see 'Cruel Sea' premiere". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 33, 225. Victoria, Australia. 27 February 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 6 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Boxing Film With A Punch". The Sunday Herald (Sydney). New South Wales, Australia. 5 July 1953. p. 6. Retrieved 19 May 2020 – via Trove.
  8. ^ Radio Times. Guide to Films (2004). p.1328

External links

This page was last edited on 27 June 2022, at 17:49
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