this was one of the last great movies that errol flynn made, not to mention the fact that here was a role he was born to play. he makes the character and real-life boxer james j. corbett believable and exciting(when was errol not exciting?). he plays the boxer with such gusto, charm, wit and seemingly endless energy.
the fact that all nearly all of this film was shot on the studio backlots doesn't hinder the production in any way: the film has a good script, marvellous direction from raoul walsh, a pace with a bit of zip to it and fine performances from errol flynn, ward bond as the reigning champion john l. sullivan, alan hale as the elder corbett and jack carson as flynn's comic friend.
the boxing scenes are well-handled, including the final one. incidentally, it was during the filming of the climatic fight scene when flynn suffered a heart attack and which in turn, delayed filming for about a week or so. however, when i see the final results, i can't spot there being anything wrong with flynn's physical condition. as this is a period film with an 1890s setting, the sets, costumes, props amongst other things, look authentic and convincing.
the very last scene between errol flynn and ward bond is both a moving and well-written piece which helps to finish the film nicely.
i enjoyed listening to the radio production of "gentleman jim" on the special features but at a running time of barely an hour, it would be silly to compare it to the film.
this is errol flynn at his best and fans of his won't want to miss this!